Safe and Courageous

By Aaron Winkle, Head of School

Thursday evening in the first week of school, a serious storm hit Grand Rapids. Tornado warnings were issued, and the wind knocked down trees and power lines. 

Our building lost electricity, and we made the tough decision to cancel classes on Friday.

Waiting out the storm that night with our family, I thought of our worship theme for the year from Joshua 1:9: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid! Do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Life can be scary sometimes. Storms come. Accidents happen. Dangers exist. And sometimes our fears keep us from moving.

And yet we serve a God who commands us to “be strong and courageous.”

For staff devotions recently, we talked about the relationship between safety and courage, and I used the metaphor of belaying in rock climbing. My daughter Nala, a fifth grader at LSA, loves the show Amazing Race, and we marveled at the courage of the show’s participants to meet a rock climbing challenge.

Belaying down the side of a mountain can be very scary. But what makes it possible is being harnessed in and having a guide we trust who can keep us safe.

The climber is connected to a harness with a strong rope with an experienced and trusted belayer on the other end. Having a trusted belayer in place allows the climber to leave the safety of secure footing behind.

As followers of Jesus we know we have a “trusted belayer” who holds us at all times. Psalm 46 assures us, “God is our refuge and strength.” Being confident that God will always hold us—as He did Joshua—we can step out in courage when life requires it.

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