The tagline of the movie, We Bought A Zoo, has come to be the words Benjamin Mee speaks to his 14 year old son when he tells him:
You know, sometimes all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage. Just, literally, 20 seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.
And it’s true. We can all think of instances where we just needed to say or do something small to initiate a desired chain of events that once started, would carry on by its own momentum—bringing up a sensitive subject that needed to be discussed, admitting we were wrong when we had blown it, etc.
But what do you do when you need more than 20 seconds of bravery? What do you do when your need is for sustained courage over several weeks or months? I find it interesting that the takeaway from the movie is about 20 seconds of courage when if you think about it, the story is about a family that shows continual courage in facing their challenges. If you go back and look at the quote, did you notice how he qualified what he said with the word “sometimes?” I suppose it’s like a lot of things in life—20 seconds gets all of the publicity but it’s the less glamorous day-to-day grit that is overlooked.
As Joshua stands on the bank of the Jordan River opposite the land of Canaan, he’s in need of sustained courage. Moses, Israel’s leader for the last 40 years, has just died. Joshua is to take his place. If that task is not daunting enough, he is to lead nation into war against the people of Canaan. (The conflict with the Canaanites is not empire building or ethnic cleansing, it is overthrowing evil. Think of it along the lines of what was done to stop Hitler in WW II). Four times in Joshua 1 he is told to “be strong and courageous,” (v. 6,7,9,18). Where will Joshua find the courage he needs?
The answer is in God and the promises He has made to Joshua. Before each of the instances where he is told to be courageous, he is reminded of God’s promise to be with him and lead him. Put it together and it tells us that courage is a decision that is driven by faith. It is a choice we make in response to the promises of God.
Like Joshua, God calls disciples of Jesus to courageous living. Our circumstances probably don’t come close to being as dramatic as what Joshua faced, but that doesn’t mean they’re not real to us and important to God. Like Joshua, we need to live in the light of our Father’s promises and bravely choose for Him.“
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline,” (2 Timothy 1:7).