Where Does Real Courage Come From?

Friday, August 13, 2010



Last Friday night, our daughter Krissy married. The service was held on a beach in the Florida Keys where her husband, Doug, proposed months ago. Right behind them, as they exchanged their vows before the Lord, the sun set.

And for the next twenty minutes, the sky exploded into colors. Brilliant, dazzling, playing off the clouds, then gently fading, giving way to night.

What incredible delight to see the joy in Krissy’s eyes. To welcome Doug into our family. To thank the Lord for such abounding blessing.

Up the coast, just outside Charleston, SC, the other bookend.

The day before Krissy’s marriage, Connie Lyle went to be with Jesus.

We’ve known Gordon and Connie for thirty plus years. Pastors, counselors, friends, elders, and prayer warriors unafraid to ask hard questions. They’ve been a lifeline for us on so many occasions. And every summer we’d meet in Maine for a meal and then time for prayer. We simply adore them.

Connie, a gentle, gracious, lovely lady who cared deeply for others.

In joy, one marriage begun. With sorrow and tears, another ended.

But that’s the story. We say it in our vows: “until death do us part.” In every generation, in every culture, the fine print is always the same. We can’t have each other forever. There is a limit, a time set when we will, we must, separate.

That’s the way it is. It’s something we all live with, right?

Well here it is. Do you want to know the whole story? Not just the one that we experience here and now. But the bigger one?

The story He tells.

Then let’s go back to the beginning.

That’s where discipleship starts. The Lord wants us to know Him. Who He is. How He created. What He intended. He wants us to know what happened and because of what happened, what He did. What He planned.

For this is true, always true: He loves us. He wants us to know.

In God’s original creation, life, His life, was the governing principle. Not death. Imagine a world without the constant forces of opposition, decay, always eroding, destroying, and making what’s new old. Broken. Withering. Until finally death comes. That’s life as we experience it.

But it’s not God’s life. Life that’s real life that He calls – eternal.

It’s why He put the tree of life in the garden of Eden.

Early on in discipleship, our growing up in Christ, we must come to Genesis 3. The Lord shows us in Scripture how evil came into the world; how the serpent deceived Eve; how Adam was tempted, and in being tempted, chose.

The other tree.

This was the day the world changed. When sin entered into the world and entered into us. The day when death took its throne and began to reign.

And on that day, the man and woman were driven out of the garden, away from God, away from the tree of eternal life. It was like there was a door and they were now on the outside. No longer in the Kingdom of God.

But in the Kingdom of Death. Where the devil presides. Where darkness fills the heart. And immoralities, impurities, passions, evil desires and greed now course through our minds and souls. It’s the way we are. It’s not the way we were intended. But we know it. We know it because we experience it.

It’s the fine print for all of us. We love. We live. We make our money. We build our empires. We look for all the applause in life we can get.

“Until death do us part.”

And the door shut. Then bolted. Leaving us outside life. God’s life.

If you don’t know this, you’ll blame God for all your sorrows and tragedies. But come hear His story. Let Him tell you who He is, really is. And who you are, as He planned you to be.

Let Him tell you that although you stand outside the door in this world where death reigns, He has a plan.

He has a way home.

A way that our friend Connie knew. And her husband Gordon knows today. It’s the only thing that brings Gordon comfort.

For he knows this, really knows this. The door into the Kingdom of God, an entrance bought by the precious blood of our Savior, opened. And Connie slipped in. To be with Jesus. In life, real life. Eternal life.

And one day that door will open for him. He too will cross the threshold. And there, in the presence of the Lord, there will be no more fine print.



Sallie said...

Love this, brother; love this.

mimi risinger said...

Really powerful--thank you--i needed this!

Nita said...

Thank you Thad.

John 15:1-11, the Vine and the branches. "Is He everything to you?