Of the four classical, cardinal virtues–justice, moderation, prudence, and courage–I am most impressed by courage because I believe it to be the rarest of the four and the most difficult to practice. Ultimate, full-blown courage, the kind that seems so rare today, I would define as the willingness to suffer and potentially die for the sake of righteousness. I think that this kind of courage is reflected in Christ’s words in the Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:10). Courage is a gift of the Holy Spirit, but it is also a choice that the Lord commands that we make: “Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD! (Psalm 31:24)
If you are interested in true stories that are profiles of courage, then I highly recommend “God’s Smuggler.” It is about Andrew van der Bijl–a young Dutch man who smuggled Bibles into communist countries starting in the 1950s. At a time when the church was oppressed, persecuted, and imprisoned by communist governments that insisted that God was dead, Andrew ministered to brothers and sisters in Christ behind the Iron Curtain. He preached the gospel, smuggled Bibles, and clothed the naked, all the while risking his life. I am currently about half way through the book and I hesitate to share much more than what you can read on the back cover because I’d hate to give anything more away. Read it! And see how God speaks to you!