On Ruby Bridges and Being Brave

Picture from the public domain.

Picture from the public domain.

Bravery. Courage. Conviction.

I like to think I possess these characteristics, but frankly I have not really, in my lifetime, been called upon to display them. As of yet, I have not encountered a circumstance that tested my deepest resolve.

Could I, like Queen Esther, risk death in order to save my people?

Would I, like Corrie ten Boom, defy an evil government in order to protect my neighbors?

Yesterday was the birthday of a very brave little girl. Ruby Bridges turned 6 on September 8, 1960, and at that tender age was brave enough to face the racial hatred ingrained in her community for generations. Ruby was the first black student at a all-white school. The opposition was so fierce, Federal Marshalls escorted her to and from school. She could only eat food sent from home because of threats of poisoning.

How brave Ruby was. What courage her parents displayed to allow their daughter into such a crucible. Her father would loose his job over his decision to have his daughter forge the trail other students would eventually follow. Her mother advised her to pray on the way to school to block out the insults hurled from protesters. How her mother must have also prayed every moment her child was in that den of lions.

Thankfully at that time there was another brave parent and child. A white Methodist minister escorted his daughter to school the second day, being the first to break the boycott other families were practicing on the school. As other parents gained the courage to send their children back to school, the climate changed and the protests began to calm down.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.
— Edmund Burke

Reading about this moment in history I wonder some things:

  • would I be brave enough to live by my deepest convictions even if it meant allowing my child to be in harm's way?
  • would I have the courage of the Methodist minister to stand for what is right, even if I faced the opposition of my neighbors and friends?
  • would my convictions carry me through the worst that came my way, such as death threats and loss of my livelihood?

I ponder these question now as I look at our current climate. Christians are facing horrific persecution in Syria. Evangelical churches are under severe pressure in Russia and China.

Around the globe Believers languish in prison for their faith, like Asia Bibi in Pakistan who even now faces the death penalty. A few years ago we prayed for Meriam Ibrahim as she faced the death penalty in Sudan.

God delivered her, but for His own reasons, He does not deliver everyone. If I were in prison, would I be as strong as these two women of faith?

American Christians are facing more and more opposition, but we are no where close to persecution yet, though I think it may be coming. And if it comes we need to ask ourselves, as individuals and as parents, are we willing to make the hard stands? Are we willing to declare Jesus when it will cost us something? Or everything?

I pray that if that day comes, I will be as brave as a six-year-old little girl in 1960 in New Orleans. I pray, through Jesus, I will possess the resolve of an Esther and the courage of a Corrie.

Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go.
— Joshua 1:7