What is real courage?

Many times in scripture we are exhorted to be courageous. But what is real courage?

We tend to think of being courageous as those times when we take on something we’re poorly equipped for. But real courage looks more like this …

One summer morning as Ray Blankenship was preparing his breakfast, he glanced out the window and saw a small girl being swept along in the rain-flooded drainage ditch beside his home in Andover, Ohio. Blankenship knew farther downstream the ditch disappeared with a roar underneath a road and then would empty into the main culvert.

Without another thought, Ray dashed out the door and raced along the ditch, trying to get ahead of the floundering child. Then he hurled himself into the deep, churning water. When Blankenship surfaced he was able to grab the child’s arm, and the two tumbled end-over-end. Within about three feet of the mouth of the culvert, Ray’s hand felt something hard — possibly a rock — protruding from the bank. Ray clung to the object desperately as the tremendous force of the water tried to tear him and the child away.

“If I can just hang on until help comes …” he thought.

He did better than that.

By the time the fire department and other rescuers arrived, Blankenship had pulled the girl to safety. Both were treated for shock. On April 12, 1989, Ray Blankenship was awarded the Coast Guard’s Silver Lifesaving Medal. The award is fitting, for this selfless man was at greater risk to himself than most people knew.

That’s because Ray Blankenship doesn’t know how to swim.

Real courage isn’t simply taking on that which you have some skill, talent, or preparation for, but throwing yourself into service for others, even when you’re utterly unequipped, and trusting God to make you capable for what He has called you to.

All around you are lives being swept away by sin. Do you have the courage to jump in and save some?

“This is my command — be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go,” Joshua 1:9.

“For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength,” Philippians 4:13.