This week, I’ve been taking a closer look at the courage of Deborah, a prophetess who was one of the judges of Israel before they had kings to rule over them. Judges 4:5 tells us that she sat under the palm tree of Deborah, where the people of Israel sought her out to settle their disputes.
Deborah had the courage to take on a nontraditional career for a woman in a patriarchal society, and her faith and courage were contagious. When she told a man named Barak that God intended for him to lead the Israelites to victory against an oppressive king, Barak refused to go into the battle unless Deborah came with him. He needed her courage. While Barak lacked courage and complete trust in God’s message, Deborah fully believed, and her belief filled her with courage. Her courage to accompany Barak brought victory to Israel and peace for 40 years. (For more of their story, check out Judges 4-5.)
Modern day courage
Of course, I haven’t only been concentrating on Deborah’s story this week. The Olympic torch and anthem beckon, and though my beloved track and field events don’t start until Friday, I’m glued to the TV and internet more than usual these days.
I admire the competitors’ courage to compete on this global stage, their courage to transform their hopes and dreams and sacrifices into reality at these games, and their courage to face harsh questions if they fall short of their goals. Show of hands: How many of you would be brave enough to face the other end of Andrea Kremer’s microphone at the London Aquatics Centre?
The courage of professing faith
There’s another test of courage going on during the games, and that’s the courage of faith. Faith can be a deeply personal experience, and there are competitors who have a strong faith in God but who won’t display their faith openly. There are others, though, who feel called to put their faith story out in the open. Whether quiet or loud, competitors may find their faith tested at the Olympics.
Today, I’d like to share with you some stories of Olympians’ courageous faith as they give God the glory for their abilities and try to witness to an oftentimes skeptical public about the joy and peace their faith gives them, even if the gold medal doesn’t come their way. Continue reading