Is It Courage – Or Strength?

In light of my post yesterday on vaccine mandates, some comments caused me to reflect. Comments that expressed concern for our situation. Or commended our courage in following our convictions. It was the latter that made me pause.

I don’t feel courageous, and doubt I have what it takes to be heroic. Those traits belong to heroic figures like Daniel, Esther, Stephen, and the apostles. Or George Washington, Patrick Henry, Abraham Lincoln, William Wilberforce, Gandi, and countless others.

They refused to back down in the face of lions, stoning, imprisonment, or certain death. I have always seen them as possessing remarkable courage, and no doubt they did.

Courage – or strength?

But I wonder if it wasn’t really courage, but rather strength. For courage must come from inner strength. Curious about the difference, I learned that:

COURAGE is the same as bravery.
It’s being able to deal with or face difficulty, danger, or pain, without fear.

STRENGTH, on the other hand, is
Moral power, firmness, courage. It’s being able to maintain a moral or intellectual position, even while dealing with difficult situations.

  • The prophet Daniel COULD face the lions. Because he COULD NOT worship other gods.
  • British politician William Wilberforce COULD battle against impossible odds. Because he COULD NOT accept slavery.
  • And Patrick Henry (a founding father of the USA) COULD face possible death. Because he WAS CERTAIN that some things are worth fighting and even dying for.

When we lack courage

Many past heroes and heroines were fearful but they faced dangers anyway. As Queen Esther feared appearing before the king, many historic champions were afraid. But they didn’t allow fear to hinder them.

If courage is facing difficulties and dangers without fear, then I am not courageous. Probably few of us are.

Even in the present situation, fear lurks close by. We wonder what further consequences could arise from our decision. If the current global agenda advances, could we face imprisonment? Will even grocery stores become forbidden places for us? Would they deny us medical care?

In light of the events of the world, such fears no longer seem unfounded. But can we allow that to paralyse us?

We often face fear in life. But one thing I’ve learned is to push forward in spite of it, knowing that God is our strength. Deep inside we may be scaredy cats. But he can give us courage and strength to face any battle.

I would like to clarify that everyone should decide what’s best for them. God allows us to follow our own conscience and choose which battles we should fight.

Just as God guided me in these choices, I trust he will guide you too. And if you received the injections, I’m glad you could choose what you felt was best for you and your family. But for me and my house, we feel that Italy’s vaccine mandate is a battle we must fight right now.

Because there is still some good in this world and it’s worth fighting for. For us it’s things like liberty, freedom, and rights.

In JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, when Frodo became discouraged over the seeming impossibility of their mission, Sam encouraged him to remember what they were fighting for. And that gave him the strength to carry on.

(The following conversation between Sam and Frodo is from Tolkien’s book Il Ritorno del Re.)



I can’t do this, Sam.

I know. By rights we shouldn’t even be here. But we are. It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end, because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines, it’ll shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something. Even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back only they didn’t. Because they were holding on to something.


What are we holding on to, Sam?
That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo. And it’s worth fighting for.

All who have seen perilous times knew fear. Each of them wished it would end. They wished it had never come to them. But the ones we call heroes, who lived stories worth telling, were those who held on to something. They knew that goodness was worth fighting for.

We too can stand strong if we know we are fighting for something good. And that our strength comes from the One who is greater than ourselves and our fears. And mightier than the evil that threatens to engulf us.

It is his strength that transforms us from fraidy-cats into valiant lions. Knowing that the darkness will pass. And that a new day will come, with the sun shining out the clearer.

Images: Lion cat by Flash Buddy | Knight in armor by ja11ok | Sword by FlashDog1866.

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