Courage is not simply one of the virtues,
but the form of every virtue at the testing point,
which means at the point of highest reality.
A chastity or honesty or mercy which yields to danger
will be chaste or honest or merciful only on condition.
Pilate was merciful until it became risky.
-C.S. Lewis The Screwtape Letters
I am cleaning out my office and found a church bulletin from last summer. It had this Lewis quote. I thought it might be from Mere Christianity, I googled it and it was not. But, my favorite passage in the Hebrews (10:39) came up in the search - where it admonishes "but we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed but of those who believe and are saved." Dr. Piper links this quote and verse together here.
I had to smile when I saw that; as true courage is never of ourselves - it is one more gift in His plethora of grace to us. There is always a breaking point in the testing, a condition I cannot withstand without more grace; more grace than has been granted to me up to that point. God is always about the business of beckoning me to trust Him more; the gift of testing points make me utterly dependant for His greater grace in my, our lives. McManus said it kind of like this, "when it comes to a God - sized challenge, self sufficiency ceases to be an option." True. Don't you just love that? Reality check - It's not about me, it is always, always about HIM. When the testing points come, as they inevitably must, if I am to grow into who He is calling me to be - it is HE who holds me and not other way around. Phew! Now that's a relief.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
- Psalm 139