Tuesday, November 10th, 2020
Forty Days of Proclamation: Audacious
Leigh Droescher O'Donoghue
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. Joshua 1:9
For further reading: Proverbs 19:21, Matthew 10:29-31, Philippians 4:8-9, Revelation 4:11
Audacious? Really, Lord? The very thought makes me squirm. Every part of me pushes back. I think of personalities that are attention-seeking, walking billboards, or downright rude and confrontational. It’s not what I strive to be, not how I want to be known, and not how I want others to see me. But that word kept appearing in my days, my reading, and my life in those last days of 2019, so I decided to dig in before I rejected it completely.
A quick Google search tells me that the primary definition is “showing a willingness to take surprisingly bold risks.” Hmmm, that sounds promising. Then I spotted the antonyms: timid, cowardly, cautious, inadventurous, unventuresome, unenterprising. No, thank you. And synonyms: adventurous, venturesome, valiant, bold, daring, enterprising. OK, Lord, sold! Let’s do this. 2020 - surely a year of vision, focus, clarity, the ideal time for being daring. So, I ordered my word stamped on a bracelet, slipped that baby on, and felt ready for the adventure ahead!
We all now know how laughable any of our plans for 2020 turned out to be. At best in the last few months we have felt untethered and our footing unsure. And far too many of us have faced unimaginable tragedy and loss. We’re in a war, and the battles seem like waves that crash over us faster than we can catch our breath — pandemic, death, loss, economic uncertainty, racial turmoil, political frenzy, and the list goes on. We are in the trenches, ladies.
Trenches are ugly, uncomfortable, frightening, overwhelming, and exhausting. No one would ever choose to spend time there for fun. But something powerful happens in the trenches. Everything that seems to matter falls away. Every breath is felt, appreciated, and focused on the goal at hand. Each soldier puts his life in the hands of his commander and commits to absolute obedience and trust. That greater goal can’t be achieved by one person. Everyone has his job, his responsibility, his purpose, and while the comrades-in-arms beside us can take comfort knowing there are others in the trench beside them, each must face the battle in front of them drawing on their own resources. That sounds and feels familiar, doesn’t it?
I realized that it’s not me who is audacious or called to behave in an audacious manner. But I am called on to pray audacious prayers.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6
I’m to audaciously praise Him even while the next wave looks like it’s about to pull me under.
I will tell of the kindnesses of the Lord, the deeds for which he is to be praised, according to all the Lord has done for us— yes, the many good things he has done for Israel, according to his compassion and many kindnesses. Isaiah 63:7
I’m to confidently and courageously seek his will and fulfill the purpose he set for me before I ever came to be.
For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. Colossians 1:16-17
And I’m to take a deep breath and lean into the peace that is beyond any logical or worldly understanding. As unexpected and jarring as the events of this year have been, none of it is a surprise to God.
Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you. Jeremiah 32:17
None of these battles are beyond his scope, his power, or his sovereignty. His love for us is bold. He zealously desires for us to draw close to him. His passion for our hearts and souls is beyond any earthly passion we can comprehend.
And so, I am beginning to understand that my word was never meant to describe me. It gives me a glimpse of the audacious love of our Heavenly Father who knows the plan he has for each of us, plans to plans to prosper us and not to harm us, plans to give us hope and a future. So that we will call on Him and pray to Him, and He will listen. We will seek Him and find Him when we seek Him with all our whole heart.
Heavenly Father, thank you for your fierce, singular love for each of us. Thank you for leaving the 99 to rescue the one. Thank you for being willing to stop at nothing to bring us close to you. Thank you for being fully, absolutely, utterly trustworthy and good. Convict us when our prayers are too timid, too small, too careful. And I pray that you bless each precious daughter who prays this prayer with stunning
evidence of your audacious love. Amen