Crossing the Bridge | The Secret to Being Brave | Ashley Varner
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Crossing the Bridge | The Secret to Being Brave

I’ve been on mission this year to be brave.  Do try new things, do things that scare me. Get out of my comfort zone.  I have tried things I never thought I would try, got involved in ministries that I wasn’t familiar with, I put my self out there and choose to be vulnerable with people.  Some of my brave decisions were as silly as amusement park rides and tasting food I would usually pass up, others were more serious, like sharing a past painful experience that I had hidden for most of my life with a group of people..

Any kid in Sunday School can tell you the ultimate story in bravery.  They know the true story of an underdog who wasn’t scared in the face of a difficulty that could have killed him. A story of a boy who only had a slingshot and was up against a giant of a warrior.  This brave tale starts with “once upon a time there was a little shepherd boy named”. .  .David.

.Being Brave

Awhile back, my husband and I taught the David and Goliath lesson to our Preschool Sunday school class. It was such a fun class, I asked my husband to lay on the floor and the kids and I traced him from head to toe.  He was our Goliath.  We colored in some armor, drew a spear and shield and then we hung the picture on the wall.  My hubby isn’t nine feet tall, but to the 3 and 4 year olds in the class, it probably seemed like it.  Now comes the fun part!  I borrowed a marshmallow slingshot from our Children’s Pastor (because Children’s pastors always seem to have stuff like that lying around). And the kids got to take turns shooting Goliath with their marshmallow rocks and slingshot.

Two stories, but the same man…

When you ask anyone what they think of when you say the name David from the Bible, they will likely bring up Goliath.  But there’s another name that comes to mind when you talk about David and that name is. . .Bathsheba.

You may know the story.  But here’s the Ashley Translation: The king was in his palace when he saw a woman that he wanted for his wife.  The problem was that she was already married.  David had to have what he wanted so he called the woman in and had an affair with her.  The next thing he finds out is that she’s pregnant.  Rather than fess up to the affair, he concocts a plan to bring the husband back home to his wife, and when Uriah wouldn’t sleep with his wife, David eventually had him killed.

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So here we have this man David.  When you ask people about him these are the two names that come up: Goliath and Bathsheba.  One name brings to mind a David that is brave and confident.  The other name brings to mind a David that is fearful and cowardice.  These stories are about the same man, so what’s the difference between having enough bravery to defeat a giant and having so much fear that when you do something wrong, you do everything you can to cover it up?

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What was the difference?  I’ve been thinking about these two stories and I’ve found out some things about being brave.

.Being brave isn’t something that is decided the day of the situation.

In the first story we see a boy being asked by his father to take food to his brothers. He shows up to the army and ends up defeating the enemy.  But what we don’t see are the years and years he spent trusting God and perfecting his kills so that he could protect the sheep that were in his care.  We see that:

David didn’t waste time.

This shepherd boy had spent countless hours alone with the sheep. He could have become lazy. He could have become complacent. But he didn’t do that.

He didn’t allow the time to make him bitter.

David had already been anointed by Samuel as the next king of Israel. We remember the story. They called in each son, one by one, and then Samuel choose David. What happened after that? Did he pack up and head to the palace? No. He was just sent back to the flock. He could have been bitter, but instead, he used the time to shape his skills for the calling that he knew was coming.

David’s time in the fields prepared him for the battlefield.

If we look at the David and Goliath story, we only see one day of bravery. We see one day of victory for David. But if we look at the whole picture, we see that before David ever fought Goliath, he had fought a lion and a bear to protect his flock. That day on a battlefield wasn’t the first day that David had ever picked up a slingshot.

Being brave isn’t something be obtain and then have for the rest of our lives.

In the Bathsheba story, the first verses says, “Now in the days when kings went off to war, David stayed home.” When all the other kings were acting as “Commander in Chief,” we see a king who decided to stay home. We see a king who was used to getting what he wanted at any cost. When we look at the David and Bathsheba story, we may think that it was one bad decision that spiraled into a mess. I think that is true, but I think the one bad decision was made long before David even saw Bathsheba.

Being brave is a process. It’s a life-long process. David defeated Goliath. He showed the ultimate sign of bravery, but he was able to slip back into cowardice because he let his daily choices crumble.

 

Being brave always involves Someone greater than us.

And by Someone, I mean THE LORD. When David killed Goliath, how did he come at him? He said, “By the power of the living God.” We will only be able to show bravery when we have Someone who is greater than us leading us.

Awhile back, my family went to visit my brother. My boys were happily playing together until my oldest decided to go across a swinging bridge. Most people think my boys are twins because their size is the same, but their age difference shows when it comes to certain things, like heights. My youngest son would not go across the bridge. So there was my dad doing everything he could do to convince my son that it was safe. My dad had my older son run across as an example. Then, my dad try to explain to him why it was safe. My dad even ran across the bridge himself. But my little man would not go across. Finally, my brother went up to the bridge, picked up my son and walked across the bridge with him in his arms.  After that, my son started running across with no fear.

Putting it All Together

What a beautiful example of what God does for us. We’re scared sometimes by the difficulties that come our way. We don’t feel brave. We’ve seen other people “cross the bridge.” We remember how God Himself has overcome “the bridge.” But we’re still held in fear. God wants us to over that fear so strongly that He sent His SOn. My dad could have told my son that the bridge was safe until he was blue in the face. But until my dad sent my brother (his son) up to carry him, my little boy was too scared.

That’s what God does for us. He sends His Son, Jesus, who comes alongside us, picks us up, and carries us across the bridge. We don’t have to rely on our own strength. We just have to be carried by Someone who is greater than us. When we trust Him, our fear dissolves.

Bravery isn’t just about the big moments, because we may never have a huge David and Goliath moment, or a Peter walking on the water moment.  But we have moments everyday when we choose to trust instead of worry, when we choose the truth over the lies, when we choose to keep first things first.  The trick is, when we have the little moments and we’re faithful to be brave in those moments, then the big moments will take care of themselves.

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