Let It Out (Isaiah 51:1-16)

If you want to do right
and obey the Lord,
    follow Abraham’s example.
He was the rock from which
    you were chipped.
God chose Abraham and Sarah
    to be your ancestors.
The Lord blessed Abraham,
and from that one man
    came many descendants.

Though Zion is in ruins,
    the Lord will bring comfort,
and the city will be as lovely
as the garden of Eden
    that he provided.
Then Zion will celebrate;
it will be thankful
    and sing joyful songs.

The Lord says:
You are my people and nation!
    So pay attention to me.
My teaching will cause justice
to shine like a light
    for every nation.
Those who live across the sea
are eagerly waiting
    for me to rescue them.
I am strong and ready;
soon I will come to save
    and to rule all nations.

Look closely at the sky!
    Stare at the earth.
The sky will vanish like smoke;
the earth will wear out
    like clothes.
Everyone on this earth
    will die like flies.
But my victory will last;
my saving power never ends.

If you want to do right
    and obey my teaching
with all your heart,
    then pay close attention.
Don’t be discouraged
when others insult you
    and say hurtful things.
They will be eaten away
    like a moth-eaten coat.
But my victory will last;
my saving power
    will never end.

Wake up! Do something, Lord.
    Be strong and ready.
Wake up! Do what you did
    for our people long ago.
Didn’t you chop up
    Rahab the monster?
Didn’t you dry up the deep sea
and make a road for your people
    to follow safely across?
Now those you have rescued
will return to Jerusalem,
    singing on their way.
They will be crowned
    with great happiness,
never again to be burdened
    with sadness and sorrow.

I am the Lord, the one
    who encourages you.
Why are you afraid
    of mere humans?
They dry up and die like grass.

I spread out the heavens
and laid foundations
    for the earth.
But you have forgotten me,
    your Lord and Creator.
All day long you were afraid
of those who were angry
    and hoped to oppress you.
Where are they now?

Everyone crying out in pain
    will be quickly set free;
they will be rescued
from the power of death
    and never go hungry.
I will help them
    because I am your God,
the Lord All-Powerful,
    who makes the ocean roar.

I have told you what to say,
and I will keep you safe
    in the palm of my hand.
I spread out the heavens
and laid foundations
    for the earth.
Now I say, “Jerusalem,
    your people are mine.” (Contemporary English Version)

“There will always be fear; do it anyway. Let your courage inspire the world around you.”

Steve Maraboli

Courageous, brave, bold, and strong – it seems most people do not characterize themselves this way. I suppose it makes some kind of sense in our minds as to why this is: Every one of us can readily recall a time or several events in which we wilted with fear; did not speak up; or were not assertive. 

The many conversations we will never have that take place in our heads are testament to our supposed withdrawal in the face of adversity. In other words, we have far too many discussions with ourselves of how something should have gone and way too many brave retorts for someone whom we really have no intention of saying those words toward.

If this all sounds like the convoluted musings of a wimpy kid, that’s not far off the mark. Getting bullied, even as adults, may easily cause us to wilt, or to take it, or to simply find a way to avoid the bully. With some folks, we even create elaborate internal reasons why it’s our fault someone is upset with us. In such times, bravery and courage seem a long way from our true selves.

Faced with a daunting task at work, at home, or at school, we may wonder if we really have the internal stuff to pull it off.  We feel that maybe someone else would be better suited to do it. When given an unwanted medical diagnosis, it might feel as if it is way above our emotional pay grade. It’s not only the added hard situations of life that make us look fearful; it is the crippling losses that can leave us feeling anything but strong and brave.

Yet, what if I told you that you are, indeed, brave, strong, and confident? 

What if I insisted that courage resides within you, even if you yourself cannot see it right now? 

And, what if I told you that bravery isn’t something you must go on a quest to find, but that it’s been in you all along? 

You only need to let it out. You must release the words and resilience already given to you by the One who holds you in the hollow of his hand.

You intuitively know I’m on to something here. After all, the most common exhortation and assurance in the entirety of Holy Scripture is to not be afraid because God is with us.

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Deuteronomy 31:6, NIV

“God has said, ‘Never will I leave you;
    never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.
    What can mere mortals do to me?’” (Hebrews 13:5-6, NIV)

Believe it, or not, the Bible tells us 365 times to not be afraid. Maybe that’s not a coincidence that we can quote a verse every day of the year about our own fearfulness in the face of so much of life’s cruel junk.

Yet, the tack I want you to take in the great litany of fear we daily face is that bravery is not something that is so much commanded as it is a calling forth of something which is already within you.

Now, before you go thinking I’m some strange spiritual huckster, hear me out. From the beginning of the world, God created by calling forth from within himself. What I mean is this: God did not simply command everything into being; instead, God said, “Let there be…”  Thus, letting out what was already there within God’s very Being.

I also find it interesting that when it comes to fear and bravery God does not so much command us to be courageous, as calls us to draw from the great reservoir within. The Lord has already created us strong, as creatures in the divine image. We just need to get in touch with what is already there. 

“Do not let your hearts be troubled,” said Jesus to his disciples because he knew his followers had it in them to walk in his way without fear. (John 14:6, NRSV)

“Let not your heart faint, and be not fearful,” said God to the prophet Jeremiah in the face of a terrible destruction that was about to unfold against Jerusalem because the Lord knew that Jeremiah could face what was going to happen. (Jeremiah 51:46, ESV)

Christians can act with boldness because Jesus is the pioneer of our salvation. He is the One who enables us to draw from the deep well of courage:

“So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testing we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” (Hebrews 4:14-16, NLT)

When I say that you are brave, you are strong, you are good – those are not words meant to make you believe something which may or may not be true, as if I were trying to convince you to take some panacea to feel better. No, I say it because it is true. 

You really can face the immense mountain in front of you and climb it. You can actually surmount the adversity you are in the middle of – not because of some words I say, but because you were created for courage.

So, how do you let out the bravery and let the boldness shine? 

That seems to be the million dollar question. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that you already know the answer to this. Yes, you possess the answers to your own questions. You have all the knowledge you need to face your problems.  The real question is:

Will you let your bravery come out to play, or will you keep it hidden beneath layers of insecurity?

It’s a whole lot easier to let me tell you what to do than to draw from what you already know deep down how to handle that troublesome something. 

So, I’m not going to give you a simple three-step process out of fear and into courage because you already have been endowed with the process. 

This certainly isn’t a sexy way to end a blog post, but it just might be the most effective and lasting.

One thought on “Let It Out (Isaiah 51:1-16)

  1. Dear Tim

    Hello from the UK. Many thanks for your post. I thought it particularly good. The comments re fear perhaps especially so. In 2020 when I was at last fully filled with the Holy Spirit after 60 years on this earth I said to my self ‘No fear’. I have not looked back.

    Of course one must still be wise as a serpent and innocent as a dove and listen to what the Holy Spirit says. But if one is truly in Christ then nothing is impossible and as it is true that our thoughts are what make us what we are, then thinking on all that is good purifies us.

    It is as they say the thought that counts!

    Kind regards

    Baldmichael Theresoluteprotector’sson
    Please excuse the nom-de-plume, this is as much for fun as a riddle for people to solve if they wish.

    Liked by 1 person

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