Bible Reading: Joshua 1:6-9
“Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (NLT)
It is very moving to visit the gallery at the Australian War Memorial, which commemorates the recipients of the VC, the Victoria Cross.
This medal is the ultimate honour bestowed on those who have shown courage in times of war. You can’t help coming away believing you could never do anything like that.
Then again, courage takes many forms. It can take courage for someone to just get up in the morning; it can take courage to care for someone in need; it can take courage to turn up at work or school in the face of bullying; it can take courage to cling to faith when everything and everyone tells you it is all an illusion.
And we need to recognise that courage is not the opposite of fear. Without fear, there would be no courage, but only foolhardiness. Courage kicks in when we take note of our fears, but don’t let them shape our lives.
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To be courageous is not to be fearless, but to refuse to surrender to fear: something we need to learn in peace, as well as in war.
(Photo credit: Benjamin Davies)