Tim Tebow and the power of courage

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Tim Tebow and the power of courage

April 21, 2015 - Jim Denison, PhD

Tim Tebow smiles at the camera as he signs a one-year contract Monday afternoon with the Philadelphia Eagles, April 20, 2015 (Credit: Philadelphia Eagles)

Tim Tebow is back in the news.  The Philadelphia Eagles have signed him as their fourth quarterback, in time for their offseason workout program.

Meanwhile, the Islamic State has released a video showing militants beheading 15 Ethiopian Christians in Libya and shooting 15 more.  Americans continue to remember the Oklahoma City bombing 20 years after 168 people were killed.  Two ships in the Mediterranean sank over the weekend, killing hundreds.  And six Somali-Americans were arrested last Sunday for allegedly recruiting new members for the Islamic State.

Yet the signing of a fourth quarterback by a team that missed the playoffs last year has dominated headlines.  Why?

There is something in us that gravitates toward courage.  Tim Tebow is not afraid to pray in public, or to testify for his Lord.  He is not afraid to pursue his NFL dreams, whatever their cost.  He is not afraid to fail, or to succeed.  In our fearful culture, a person with such courage makes headlines.

Consider Rebekah Gregory, perhaps the unlikeliest person to complete yesterday’s Boston Marathon.  

Rebekah was standing near the finish line at the 2013 Boston Marathon when two bombs nearly killed her.  Two years later, after 35 surgeries and the amputation of her left leg, she is running on a prosthetic leg.  Her doctor wouldn’t let her run the full marathon this year, so she ran the last 3½ miles and crossed the finish line.  She plans to run the entire marathon next year.

Rebekah recently posted on Facebook a letter to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, comments that have now gone viral.  In her letter, she describes her fears following the bombing.  But after testifying against Tsarnaev in court, she says: “I looked at you right in the face . . . and realized I wasn’t afraid anymore.  And today I realized that sitting across from you was somehow the crazy kind of step forward that I needed all along.”

Why?  “I think that’s the ironic thing that happens when someone intends something for evil.  Because somehow, some way, it always ends up good.”  She explains to Tsarnaev: “Now you have given me (and the other survivors) a tremendous platform to help others, and essentially to do our parts in changing the world for the better. . . . in so many ways, you saved my life.  Because now, I am so much more appreciative of every new day I am given.”  So while Tsarnaev sits in solitary confinement, “I will be actually ENJOYING everything this beautiful world has to offer.  And guess what else?  I will do so without fear . . . of YOU.”

When Jesus called his first disciples, he told them to “fear not” (Luke 5:10).  When he spoke with a man whose daughter had died, he told him to “fear not” (Luke 8:50).  When he talked with disciples who were afraid for their lives and future, he told them to “fear not” (Luke 12:7, 22).  Why?  Because “I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).

If we respond to our fears with courageous faith, the world will take note. (Tweet this) What fears are you facing today?

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are from the ESV®️ Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®️), copyright ©️ 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The ESV text may not be quoted in any publication made available to the public by a Creative Commons license. The ESV may not be translated in whole or in part into any other language.

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