James Goll: Why Courage Is Worth Its Cost

by | Apr 9, 2021 | Blogs, God Encounters Today

Courage doesn’t take a large bank account, big muscles or impressive beauty.

It simply requires making yourself available and being willing to obey.

And it is always worth it.

Some of you may think that you are the most unlikely candidate for God to use to accomplish anything significant.

Most of us think of ourselves in that way.

The world teaches us that it is the rich, the powerful or the beautiful who are important and make a difference in the world.

That’s not what God teaches. He doesn’t think or work the way the world does.

The prophet Isaiah recorded, “‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts'” (Isa. 55:8-9, NASB).

I like the way Randy Clark puts it: “God can use little ole me!”

God can use anyone or anything He desires to accomplish His purpose.

In fact, He prefers to use people and means considered insignificant by the world. The apostle Paul told the Corinthians:

“God has selected [for His purpose] the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong [revealing their frailty]. God has selected [for His purpose] the insignificant (base) things of the world, and the things that are despised and treated with contempt, [even] the things that are nothing, so that He might reduce to nothing the things that are” (1 Cor. 1:27–28, AMP).

If you still wonder whether or not God can use you, take courage from the story of a young woman who was one of the most unlikely heroes in history: Joan of Arc.

Her life has been a tremendous tool of inspiration to me.

Joan of Arc: A Time for Leadership

The fourteenth and fifteenth centuries were filled with great political and national turmoil for France.

From 1337 to 1453, France and England fought a series of battles that became known as the Hundred Years’ War.

Around 1400, an ancient French prophecy was revived that said the kingdom would be brought to ruin by a woman and restored by a daughter of the people.

Many came to believe that Queen Isabella had fulfilled the first part of the prophecy when she signed the Treaty of Troyes, giving the French throne to an English king.

But who would be the “daughter of the people” to arise to restore the kingdom?

The people of France were in a desperate state; children died of hunger in the streets by the thousands. It is said that wolves even came into Paris at night to feed on the bodies of the unburied dead in the city streets.

There was great lawlessness and immorality, and many people lived little better than beasts.

The disinherited Charles, from his base in central and southwestern France, attempted to assert his authority and claim to the throne, but with little success.

The French people as a whole would not recognize him as the legitimate king unless he was formally coronated in the traditional place, the cathedral in the now English-controlled city of Rheims.

If ever there was a time for a strong and courageous leader to arise, it was now.

An Unlikely Champion

In the midst of this political unrest and social upheaval, Joan appeared.

Born in 1412 in the village of Domremy, in the Champagne district of northeastern France, Joan was the youngest in a family of five.

Although skilled in sewing and spinning, she never learned to read or write.

From a very early age she displayed an unusually deep devotion to God. She spent hours absorbed in prayer and was known to have a tender heart for the poor and needy.

From her childhood on, Joan simply loved God.

She never received any theological training and knew very little about the formal structures and official doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church, the only church in France at that time.

All Joan knew was that when she went to mass, God met her there.

Joan knew God, loved to spend time with Him and would do anything for Him.

In the summer of 1425, when she was 13, Joan experienced her first heavenly visitation: a blaze of bright light accompanied by a voice.

She received numerous such visitations during the months that followed.

During this time, she gradually became aware of the call of God on her life.

He seemed to be telling her that she was to go to the aid of the disinherited Charles, the true king of France; drive the English away from Orleans and out of the country; and lead the procession to see Charles enthroned.

At first, she resisted: I’m just a girl. I have no education, no training in military skills. Who’s going to listen to me?

By May 1428, Joan was convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that God was leading her to go to Charles’ aid.

She believed that God was true and that He would back her up in everything that He called her to do.

After passing numerous tests placed upon her, Joan’s faith, simplicity and honesty made a very positive impression on King Charles, his court and, later, even a large committee of highly educated bishops, who found nothing heretical in her claims of supernatural guidance.

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