From Hope Valley Devotionals (Week 25): The Beautiful Hope of Finding Courage

May 20, 2020

Happy Wednesday friends! As I shared several  months, I am excited to re-share some of the most popular devotional posts that I wrote in 2017-2018 (if you would like to see the complete list you can find it HERE!) and am excited to share this one this week! I hope that this continues to be a beautiful blessing even several years later!
One of the sweet aspects of When Calls the Heart Season 2 was having the opportunity to watch the interactions between Elizabeth and her family. There were some silly dramatic moments like the one above between Julie and Elizabeth, but even this exchange between the two sisters in the 5th episode of Season 2, shows a timeless truth for all of us to consider... the beautiful hope of finding courage.

When I watched this scene the first time I giggled a bit, along with lots of viewers I am sure, but as I sat down to write this chapter I started to think about the depth of what is conveyed here. Often times there are situations that we encounter in life that if something doesn't go the way that we want it to we feel we will "wither away and die" as Julie says. When Elizabeth points out that she won't die, Julie aptly responds that she will still "wither". Now, the scene is humorous and every woman I am sure can relate to the concept that was originally being discussed in this conversation, yet there is a deeper truth that is here that goes beyond the laughter.

Often times (and I am just as guilty of this as anyone) it can seem that circumstances can make us feel that we will "wither". I have been thinking a lot about this recently. There are several particular circumstances in my life where I want to be like Julie and say, "if this doesn't work this way than I will wither and die... okay not die, but I will wither". It sounds humorous but in reality I think a lot of times we all feel this way. We may never express it or be as dramatic, but in a lot of situations in our lives we live without the beautiful hope of finding courage.

Instead of having courage, we do wither. Instead of facing situations head on with bravery and hope, we assume the worst will happen. Instead of believing that the best things are to come, we assume that the worst will take place. Instead of living hopefully and securely knowing that we are prisoners of hope, we often live in fear of what may happen in a particular circumstance.

I was recently talking with a dear friend who has gone through a lot in her young life. She and I spoke for a few hours the other day as she talked through several difficult and daunting situations that she is facing. She grew quiet at the end of the conversation and I asked her what she was thinking about. She admitted with tears running down her cheeks, "I have realized as we have talked I don't have any courage or hope to face these situations. I assume the worst case scenario will always happen in my life." My heart broke for her and as we continued to talk I had to admit that I also sometimes feel the same way.

It can be easy in life to allow what we see and the circumstances in front of us to dictate the thought that we will wither under what is before us. It can be easy to believe that relationships that we long to see healed will always stay broken. It is easier to believe that our financial issues will never get better. It is easier to believe that we may never have the child or family we long for. It is easier to believe that our best days were behind us. It is easier to believe that when everyone is saying there is no hope, that there isn't. It is often easier to believe in the fear of what may go wrong instead of the truth of finding courage.

But here is the thing. There is a certain blessing that can only come from courage. There is a deep blessing of living fully in the hope that we don't wither when circumstances that we never expected face us. There is a beautiful blessing that comes as we live not being dismayed, not worrying, but having courage to face everything in front of us. There is a beautiful blessing that is indescribable that only comes from choosing to have courage. The English Author, C.S. Lewis once said, "Courage, dear heart"... and this is what we all sometimes need to be gently and firmly reminded of.

There is a beautiful hymn from 1898 entitled "Higher Ground" which was written by Johnson Oatman, Jr. who had felt that his life was nowhere near what he had envisioned or dreamed. The limits of his ministry and his commitments had him "locked" into a situation that didn't allow him to change the direction. As he continued to pray and seek God's will for his life and pray for miracles, he lived in hope that someday the Lord would answer his prayers. After many years of prayers and tears, at 36 years old his prayers were answered when he found that he had a love and a gift for writing hymns. One of his most popular ones that is said to be one of his favorites, is "Higher Ground". There is a section in the song that I believe speaks beautifully to this hope of finding courage. The words say:

"My heart has no desire to stay
Where doubts arise and fears dismay;
Though some may dwell where those abound, 
My prayer, may aim, is higher ground."

Today, let us dare to live courageously. Today, let us not let our hearts stay where doubts arise or fears dismay. Today let us face the situations in front of us with strength. Everyone around you may be speaking doubts and fears into your situation, but let us make it our prayer and aim to not live there. Today, let us speak hope and courage into every situation that we hear of. Today let us find the joy and hope ... and today let us find the blessing that comes with living a life a courage.

"The grass withers... but the word of our God will stand forever."
-Isaiah 40:8-

"...Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."
-Joshua 1:9-

*original post written in August 2017 prior to Lori Loughlin's departure from the show*

Looking for past From Hope Valley Devotionals? You can click HERE to find a complete listing of all of the devotionals! 

I have received several emails asking me about the books by Janette Oke that the series is based on. You may remember that I mentioned in my very first From Hope Valley Devotional post that I had read Janette Oke's series back when I was a teenager. The original book series, "The Canadian West Series" was based on Elizabeth's aunt and her adventures (she also married a Mountie). Here are the listing of the books from that series (there are six) in order:

In the last several years Janette Oke released a new series entitled, "Return to the Canadian West" which you can find listed below in order:

I receive several emails a week asking where you can watch older episodes of "When Calls the Heart". If you have a Netflix account you can find seasons 1-3 there or you can purchase them on Amazon. You can purchase and watch all of the seasons and episodes by clicking on the links below:

*Please note that the quotes used in these weekly devotionals are the sole intellectual property of Hallmark Channel, WCTH, & Crown Media, LLC. These on-line posts are in no way supported, endorsed or affiliated with WCTH, Hallmark Channel, or Crown Media. They are simply encouragement inspired by Janette Oke and this precious show.*

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