Once a month or so, I get the joy of helping with our preschool chapel time. Our littlest ones walk into the St. Paul chapel with their class, climb into a seat, and settle in. We sing a couple of songs, share a brief message, and give high fives as we head out.
Whenever it’s my turn to lead the message time, I mull over what story to share with the kids. Lots of the usual stories come to mind—we could make all sorts of animal noises while we hear the story of Noah & the Ark. There’s Daniel who faced the lion’s den & lived to talk about it. Or Mary who so faithfully heard the angel’s message about a little baby named Jesus.
When I think about the kinds of stories of faith we’re eager to teach our kids, it occurs to me that we often emphasize those we think exemplify great courage and faithfulness. Young David taking on Goliath. Ruth, so willing to live with faith that God would provide. Peter who steps out of the boat to try to walk on water. We could go on and on.
Those are all wonderful stories for people of any age to have etched in their hearts. But one of my hopes is for people of any age to see that faith can show up in all sorts of ways.
For instance, Peter isn’t only brave when he starts to walk on water. But also when he asks questions or says he doesn’t understand what Jesus is saying or even when he starts to sink into the water and Jesus catches him. It actually takes a whole lot of courage to say words like “I don’t know” or “Help me.” His so-called failures make him no less faithful.
Or Moses wasn’t only brave when he told Pharaoh to let God’s people go or as he led thousands toward the Red Sea. He was also so very courageous to articulate his fears to God—naming his insecurities and wondering whether he was equipped for this daunting task.
Faith isn’t only reserved for the absurdly confident or those who have it all figured out (or appear to anyway). We’re also brave when we express our doubts or worries. None of us is less faithful, simply because we have questions or apprehensions or long to ask God for a little more guidance.
We don’t just turn to the Bible for great, heroic stories, but also for average, everyday examples of strength & perseverance in faith. As author Brené Brown writes, “Heroics is often about putting our life on the line. Ordinary courage is about putting our vulnerability on the line. In today’s world, that’s pretty extraordinary.”
My hope is that people of faith, at any age, will find plenty of examples of ordinary courage throughout the Bible. May we be eager to hear those great stories that demonstrate curiosity, imperfections, and vulnerability—all of which point to great lives of faith.