Be Strong and Brave

As I’ve gone through good and bad times in my life there are a handful of phrases from elementary school religion class that have never left my head. One is, “The Lord is always with you, and he will help you make the change.” One is the verse, “As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds His people from this time forth and forever.” And another we created in 4th grade religion class.

We read a story that prompted our class to create the mantra: Be Strong, And Brave, And Know the Truth, And Follow it! We spoke it in the style of a rap, and would march around in a circle reciting this phrase. The teacher would say: “Whisper it! Ok, now yell it! This time, sing it! Now whisper again!” He would also add his own embellishments to our “rap”. Be Strong, (mmm-hmmm) And Brave, (Oh yeah) And know the Truth and Follow it (Louder!).

I clearly remember having a sleep over with a friend from the same class later that year. Before going to her house over-night, we went to the movies and saw the movie “Tom and Huck”. For some reason the character “Indian Joe” from the movie really freaked us out! That night, we had to take her dog out to use the bathroom. It was dark and we spooked ourselves thinking that “Indian Joe” was going to pop out of the trees and scoop us up. We started chanting at the top of our lungs: “Be Strong! And Brave! And Know the Truth and Follow it!” Our fear that night turned to calm and giggles and we often recall the event with fondness.

In the 20 years that have passed since I was in 4th grade, this “rap” has often popped into my head at times when I’m going through something challenging, scary, sad or stuck. It brings calm to my heart and reminds me that I am not alone. The Lord is guiding, knows the struggles and commands me to be strong and brave. Whatever “Indian Joe” is taunting me at the time will eventually go away and there will be laughter at the end of the struggle.

In all honesty I do not remember the story this activity stemmed from! I just spent some time trying to remember… was it about Joshua? Samuel? The Battle of Jericho? The interesting thing is that although I don’t remember the exact origin, the phrase applies to all of the above and could have come from all of the above. The Lord had to instruct/remind the characters in the Bible to “Be Strong, and Brave, and Know the Truth and Follow it,” just as he instructs/reminds us in present day to do the same.

It’s a new year, and there is a lot of craziness going on in the world! I hope that our New Christian Women readers remember to Be Strong and Brave as we face whatever challenges come our way in 2017. The Lord and His truth are in reach and will bring comfort when our hearts are overwhelmed.

Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and brave. Don’t be afraid of them and don’t be frightened, because the Lord your God will go with you. He will not leave you or forget you.”

Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

2 Samuel 2:7 “Now then, be strong and brave, for Saul your master is dead, and the people of Judah have anointed me king over them.”

1 Chronicles 28:20 “Then David said to his son Solomon, Be Strong and Courageous and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged for the Lord God, my God, is with you.”

Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

About Catherine Lykins

Catherine (Steen) Lykins grew up in Michigan in the Oak Arbor New Church congregation. She and her husband, Rob, currently live in Atlanta, GA where she teaches high school chorus at a public high school. She loves her job and is deeply invested in the students she gets to sing with every day. Catherine also loves to run, sings with the Atlanta Symphony Chorus, enjoys scrapbooking and often helps her husband fly his hot air balloon!

2 thoughts on “Be Strong and Brave

  1. I like that! What a great mantra to have – a great ‘smooth stone’ to have in your pouch. And I love that it was drilled into your head (without having been drilled! -music and rhythm are so cool, that way) at an early age; ah, the advantages of church schooling. Thanks for sharing this, not only as a reminder but also as a “rap” which we might adopt and easily be able to remember, too! 🙂

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