Read 1 Corinthians 16:13
13 Keep alert, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong. (NRSV)
Visiting the War Memorial section which commemorates Victoria Cross winners is a moving experience. Extraordinary things done by otherwise ordinary people who showed courage. We might come away thinking how lacking in courage we are given we are so fearful.
But it is a mistake to believe that courage is the opposite of fear. Courage in fact can only have meaning in the context of fear. Years ago at an Outward Bound school it took little courage for me to speak in public or do cross-country running. It took great courage for me to master rock climbing given my fear of heights.
Courage is having the strength and will to do what needs to be done. It does not deny the danger, it does not dismiss the fear. Rather it notes the challenges and fears and decides to do what needs to be done irrespective.
Courage can make headlines or can be very mundane. It takes courage to rescue a child from a burning building, and it takes courage for a retrenched worker to turn up to apparently futile job interviews day after day. Caring for a partner with dementia is courageous just as standing firm in a military battle is courageous.
We get courage not by trying very hard to be brave: most of us will fail at that. Nor does it come from denying our fears. It comes from facing those fears and asking God for the help to do what needs to be done. For followers of Jesus, courage is more about helplessness than heroics.