Writer and artist Mary Anne Radmacher has said,
“Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is
the little voice at the end of the day that says
I'll try again tomorrow.”
If there ever was a story about courage, look no
further than the story of the exodus of God’s people
in the Hebrew Scriptures. No other book in the Bible
has been more dramatized and filmed except the life
of Christ. Perhaps the fascination with this story
is because God is not talked about, or even
theorized about. Rather, God is there. And God's in
the face of Moses almost the entire time.
When we are introduced to Moses, “courage” is a word
that resonates and reveals what this stammering
prophet’s story is about.
The story of Moses’ beginning would be impossible
without the strength and courage of women. There is
the bravery of his own mother, who defies the law of
the state to keep her son alive; pharaoh’s daughter,
who takes the baby she knows is a Hebrew boy and,
also in defiance of the state and her father, raises
him as her own; and Moses’ sister, Miriam, who
guards Moses from a distance as he floats in his
basket--eventually bringing their mother to
pharaoh’s daughter to be his wet nurse.
The progression of heroines and their showing of
courage begins with the midwives Shiphrah and Puah.
It is they who defy pharaoh’s edict and refuse to
kill the Hebrew boys.
To do that—to stand in the way of genocide and to
confront commands from a powerful empire—requires
You know what else requires courage?
To be honest with God.
Soon these little ones will have gained enough
courage to spread their wings and fly...
This is why Moses’ story is fascinating. After being
saved by the courage of midwives, Moses courageously
enters into perhaps the most intimate relationship
we see unfold in the story of God.
I’m not talking about the obvious and well known events of Moses’
life: the burning bush, the parting of the Red Sea, the final scene
of his life where he stands on the edge of the Promise Land but
doesn’t get to enter. No, I’m talking about the moments in Moses’
life where he expresses his frustrations towards God as he and the
Israelites wander aimlessly in the desert, when Aaron and the
Israelites build a golden cow, and when God calls Moses to the task
of being God’s spokesperson–one perk being to go before pharaoh and
declare that God’s people be let go. Like most of us would, Moses
thinks this is one horrible idea and tries to get out of it: “O my
Holy One, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor even
now that you have spoken to your servant; but I am slow of speech
and slow of tongue.”
Moses, in the presence of God, had the courage to express to God
Moses’ fears and doubts.
And guess what?
God doesn’t abandon Moses. And God also doesn’t buy his excuses.
God responds to Moses: “Who gives speech to mortals? Who makes them
mute or deaf, seeing or blind? Is it not I, the Holy One? Now go,
and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you are to speak.”
Thus continues the story of God’s presence and promise to always be
with God’s people.
Courage doesn’t always look like a person who has their lives in
order, who always has a smile on their face in all their Facebook
photos, nor is courage defined as a radical act of protest in the
face of an oppressive political play out.
Courage, like many of the most-treasured virtues, is often much more
subtle. It looks like ordinary people, doing ordinary things, and
being honest not only with others and themselves, but with God.
We resolve to “try again tomorrow” because we, as God’s people, live
in the hope and promise that, like with Moses, God will meet us
[Adam Quine, First Presbyterian Church in Lincoln]