Wouldn’t it be marvelous to be brave, courageous and fearless?
I mean, think of all those valiant women of the Bible who rolled up their tunic sleeves, took a deep breath and changed history. Like Jael in the book of Judges, who single-handedly slayed an enemy king using only the implements available to an everyday housewife; or Rahab, the prostitute whose entanglement in an espionage adventure saved her family and landed her a place in the New Testament “Hall of Faith.” And don’t even get me started on Esther, what kind of captive girl becomes Queen and then takes the risk to invite her husband on a date that spells doom for her nemesis and deliverance for her nation?
And then, there’s me! Oh, some days I get to exercise my inner “fearless female.”
She’s the one who likes to do crazy things like jump on a motorbike, kiss an alligator, or just go without thinking jumping of the platforms of Africa’s longest and highest zipline. But on more typical days, I come face-to-face with my more so inner wimp. She’s the one who the sight of blood causes to faint. The one who - don’t tell anyone - once jumped when the toast popped!
Fortunately for frightened toaster ‘warriors’ like me, history’s courageous women of God have a lot to teach us modern day women. For starters, we can learn from seven things these women have in common:
1. Brave women are women of God
Brave women know they have every right to be afraid, because they understand that they can’t accomplish a single thing without God. Having committed their lives to Him, they seek Him in obedience as weak vessels through which He can accomplish great things at His discretion. Mary, Jesus’s mother, modeled this mindset when she told the angel Gabriel, “I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38, ESV.)
2. Brave women are women of mission
Because they are women of God, brave women are women of priority. In serving the God who is stronger than themselves, they live for a commandment, a calling and a kingdom that is greater than themselves. So, they determine that it doesn’t really matter what happens to them. This sense of calling is the undercurrent we hear in Esther’s words before she entered the throne room uninvited: “If I perish, I perish.”
3. Brave women do what is right
Read Proverbs 21, and you’ll probably get a sense that righteousness, or justice, is a verb—something you do. And doing the right thing because it’s the right thing, regardless of whether it’s scary, gross or life-threatening, is another hallmark of courageous women. (The right thing, of course, might not always be most obvious; that’s just another reason why brave a woman needs God.)
4. Brave women are motivated by love
Being women of God, courageous women are defined by what defines Him: sacrificial love. It’s the kind of love that made Ruth abandon her own family, cling to Naomi, and follow her to a faraway land. It’s also the kind of love that motivates silent heroines today - the ones who daily rise to missions involving dirty diapers, skinned knees and, yes, even the frightening toaster.
5. Brave women don’t let fear stop them
Doing the right thing might be terrifying. But bravery can’t be a lack of fear, because without fear there’s no need for bravery. (Who needs to be brave while sitting on the couch eating chocolate?) The secret is not giving way to fear, but giving it to Jesus instead. In return, He offers Himself: His presence, grace and word. In fact, flooding our hearts with His word is one of the best things we can do to overcome fear. The calling and love which motivates bravery helps hugely too: “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” (1 John 4:18, NKJV)
6. Brave women are ordinary
It’s easy to look at women like Esther, who did extraordinary things, and think they must have been extraordinary people. But Esther was just a captive girl in a foreign land. God prefers accomplishing great things through ordinary, often overlooked people. The secret isn’t being an amazing person; it’s serving an amazing God.
7. Brave women are faithful
Wherever they are, whatever they’re doing, brave women do it faithfully. Whether single or married, captive or queen, wherever God has placed them, they live out every daily action for Him. Sometimes it’s slaying kings, hiding spies; sometimes it’s simply carrying out the duty of a diaper. But it’s always the right thing, motivated by love.
So, wherever God has placed us - let’s be brave!
Let’s be faithful, ordinary women of God who never let fear stop us from doing what is right. Because perhaps - just perhaps - we have been made for such a time as this!