(Jesus) made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side [of the Sea of Galilee], while he dismissed the crowds.And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them. And early in the morning he came walking toward them on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.”
Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus. But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” ~ Matthew 14:22-33
There's a distinction I've read between bravery and courage. Bravery is a state of being. It's spontaneous. It's something you are or are not. It's being bold and without fear.
Courage, on the other hand, I believe is much more difficult. Unlikely bravery, courage doesn't exist without fear. It exists IN fear. It is being afraid and acting anyway. It is a conscious choice, not something that happens spontaneously.
The word for courage comes from the Latin word for "heart" - "cor." You find its root in the Spanish and French words for heart: corazón and cœur.
Jesus tells his disciples, who are afraid to see a ghost coming towards them to "take heart." Have courage.
In the midst of fear act anyway.
Maybe there are things in your life of faith that you are hesitant about. Maybe you are afraid to try something new.
To confront a part of yourself you aren't happy with.
To try going to a Bible Study group.
To lead a ministry.
To help at a food pantry.
To work with the homeless.
To speak to a stranger about your faith.
To that, Jesus says: "take heart." Have courage. It's OK not to be brave.
But search your heart and see that you aren't alone as you take that first step out into the water.
Move me into the places you call me, Lord, in spite of my fear. Amen