Welcome to Saturday Share!
The purpose of this weekly feature is to provide a space for regular people to share their real-life encounters with Jesus. It’s about living in the middle – on the way to the finish line. Our stories are not finished and that’s the main point!
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith… (Hebrews 12:1-2)
I am honored to introduce to you, my feature Saturday Share writer: Marie Gregg
by Marie Gregg
Like any other writer, I dream of book tours and lecture circuits, but the actual reality of those things is far beyond my comfort zone. Planes, trains, and automobiles whirling about the country, carrying me off to places unseen and people unknown…my heart begins to thud with the mere contemplation.
I’m not a brave person.
When I think of the word brave, my mind conjures up images of people who have done great things. Florence Nightingale, caring for wounded soldiers left in appalling conditions during the Crimean War. Sojourner Truth’s “Ain’t I a Woman?” speech. Desmond Doss, the conscientious objector who saved the lives of up to 75 men during the Battle of Okinawa. Rosa Parks refusing to give up her seat on the bus.
Me? I’m lucky if I can put together one coherent sentence when in the presence of a stranger.
Great things? Acts of heroism?
I am far more comfortable in the little spaces, the hidden places.
I wonder if Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego felt the same way. Sure, they agreed with their friend Daniel when it came to obeying God’s commands about what they could eat (Daniel 1:11-16). Yes, they were promoted, became part of King Nebuchadnezzar’s inner circle (Daniel 1:19-20). But their story doesn’t require much ink. They go along, doing their thing.
Until Chapter 3, the statute and the flames.
“Consider it a great joy, my brothers, and sisters, whenever you experience various trials because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:2-3 (CSB)
Rach, Shach, and Benny found themselves thrust into the middle of a situation that they may not have anticipated. In a split second, they had to choose. The King or God? Life or death? They got to live out the words of James long before they were ever written. Their little space, their hidden place, was suddenly exposed.
So it is with you. And me.
We need a broader understanding of what it means to be heroic. A brave person is not made in a single moment, on center stage, but in the thousands of little choices that go unseen by all by God. For me, bravery is built every time I choose to walk into a room believing that I am a daughter of the King. It’s not something anyone else notices. It’s a war inside my head, a battle across my soul. Who am I going to believe, the voice of the Enemy that spews lies to break me down and keep me isolated, or the voice of the Holy Spirit that empowers me to do what He has called me to do?
I don’t always make the right choice. More days than I care to count, my head is down, eyes studying the floor, hoping that I can sneak by unnoticed.
My trial: Anxiety.
My test: Doing it anyway.
Publishing a blog post, meeting someone for coffee, leading a small group, making an announcement in church. It all scares me. My mind jumps to the worst-case scenario every single time.
Jesus meets me there. Just as He gave those three men the courage to defy a king, so He gives me courage each and every day. All I have to do is reach out and take it. Make the choice to trust Him and watch another brick be placed on the Wall of Bravery in my mind. My hands shake in the effort to cling to His steady ones. Sometimes, slick with the sweat of fear, they slip away.
He holds on when I cannot.
“…solid food is for the mature – for those whose senses have been trained to distinguish between good and evil. Therefore, let us leave the elementary teaching about Christ and go on to maturity…” Hebrews 5:14-6:1 (CSB)
It doesn’t happen overnight, this bravery. It’s a growing thing, a pressing thing. It’s part of the lifelong process we call sanctification, the way that Jesus smooths the rough parts and shapes us into the people He designed us to be. Bravery is found in letting go of what has gone before and reaching for the deeper things that lay ahead. It’s found in putting one foot in front of the other, even as the entire body trembles, because Jesus says, “You can because I Am.”
You, like me, may always be content to live behind-the-scenes. Our voices may always be quieter than others, our actions subtler. But make no mistake: We face the statue and the flames all the time. When we’re tempted to run from God’s assignment for us, tempted to hold a grudge, tempted to take a second look, tempted to open the bottle or take the pill. A thousand variations and a million different choices.
Jesus is there, in all of it.
You and me, let’s choose Him.
Even in the little spaces.
Marie Gregg lives in North Idaho with her husband and two fat, neurotic dogs. She is the author of several books, all of which are available on Amazon. When she’s not engaged in Bible study or competitive napping, she writes about life and theology over at Along the Way. Join her on the journey. (Facebook / Instagram / Twitter)