Courage Calling: The Opposite Way

“Just show up.” Those were the words I heard the Father gently whisper to my dangling-by-a-thread heart, as we prepared to say yet another goodbye to someone we deeply loved–to someone who had loved us but was choosing to leave our lives for good, for a different way of life far from the one we had been called to honor. It wasn’t a goodbye as in a physical death, but it certainly felt like the end.

“Do your best to live in peace with everyone.” Romans 12:18, ICB

The dreary December day of departure had arrived. We didn’t have to go, but courage and conviction carried us there. Showing up to say goodbye was not only the opposite of what we had been told to do by our loved one, but it was in hopeful opposition to the fear, confusion, and weariness that felt like solid bricks piled on our hearts.

We took what felt like an eternity’s walk from the front door to the back of the house. Only small stacks of last-minute things remained, my eyes scanning emptied rooms, attempting to salvage every precious memory.

Love is kind and, even in the pain, I felt a love unexplained. We scooped up bundles of this and that and I checked for snacks. The drive ahead would be long, and I wanted to make sure hunger didn’t hit…though I knew a pack of peanut butter crackers was no match for a starved and wounded soul.

We huddled beside the car, with the offer of a God-be-with-you prayer. It truly was a tender, merciful moment. Grief’s shock waves now stood as bookends to a year that had been filled with uninvited loss.

Yet, courage was calling as it had been all along. In my nearly 50 years of living in the tension of the now and not yet, the known and unknowns, the dreams and the devastation, this I know: “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23, ESV).

Friend, sometimes the only way to move forward is to practice marching backwards.

The Opposite Way

{Opposite} Diametrically different (as in nature or character); contrary to one another.

Some days, when I feel the restless tension of my emotions rising over a decision, a relationship, an opportunity, a conversation, an injustice, a sorrow, or simply something trite, I hear the brave invitation of three little words…in three different ways.

Do the opposite.

See the opposite.

Be the opposite.

Not in the sense of denying or betraying what is true or right or good, even and especially in all that is wrong. Rather, in doing, in seeing, and in being one who lives and moves in the upside-down Kingdom of God.

Where mourning turns to joy.
Where humility is exalted.
Where mercy triumphs over judgment.
Where the first are last and the last are first.
Where weakness transforms into strength.
Where slow and steady win the race.
Where love never fails.
Where brutal becomes beautiful.

Piece by piece, one faith-filled step at a time.

12 Ways to Choose Courage

In Luke chapter six, Jesus turns everything upside-down and inside-out, in a sermon preached on a Mount.
○ Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
○ Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied.
○ Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.
○ Blessed are you when people hate you,
○ When they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.
○ Rejoice…and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven.
○ Love your enemies,
○ Do good to those who hate you,
○ Bless those who curse you,
○ Pray for those who abuse you.
○ Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back.
○ Be merciful, even as your father is merciful.

Indeed, this is the opposite way and the only way on earth to redeem what’s been lost and heal what’s been broken. This is the Kingdom way of living and loving like Jesus. And it’s one of the hardest and greatest simplifiers for all of life. *

Rarely do our stories end with “happily ever after.” But with God, they can be forever after ~ in pursuit of all that is made good by God.

Where is He calling you to do the opposite, see the opposite, be the opposite?

Be strong and courageous.

*This section is taken from Day Six of Coming to Light: An Advent Experience Through the Book of Luke, by Jodie Frye*

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