Courage !!

from Rev. Bruce Wood - November 2018

Published in News First — our monthly church newsletter  

 Recently Pam and I spent some time at the Invictus (meaning unconquered) Games in Sydney.  It was a wonderful time to see the strength and courage of people choosing to live out the best attributes of the human spirit.  Everywhere we looked there were people living their lives with a disability - some clearly obvious, others not so visible - and as reasonably ‘normal’ people we felt we were the odd ones out - which gave us a very slight insight into how these people live their daily lives.

We watched wheelchair basketball, power lifting and athletics, and each event was a source of inspiration and wonder how people who were multiple amputees could throw the discus or the shot-put or run a 1500 metre race.  One moment that will stay in my memory was the medal presentation for the men’s discus - where of the 3 medalists, none had any legs and each only had one good arm.  They had thrown the discus - strapped into a raised platform - and they were justly proud of their efforts and the crowd also appreciated their mighty feats with long and loud applause.

For many of the athletes, these were life changing moments - and whether they came first or last in their particular event - or whichever country they represented - made no difference to the rousing applause of those watching.  It was such a privilege to be present at these events and to see the spirit and courage that was needed simply to get to the start of an event, let alone participate and to finish (and every one did finish because those who found the going difficult were encouraged and supported to finish by the other competitors).  These were demonstrations of remarkable courage, astonishing strength of character, and often raw emotion, that displayed the very best of the unconquered
human spirit.

Over those few days, stars were born, lives were changed for the better, and acceptance forged to new heights - and as we sat there looking on in awe, we were constantly reminded of the courage that many people have, just to see out another day - and also the many who have no comprehension of what it takes some people simply to live
each day.

There are many examples in scripture of characters who have the courage and the spirit to face seemingly impossible odds.  The story of Esther for example shows a person who had courage to face daunting challenges, and who was willing to risk her life for her beliefs - an inspirational read - when you have a few minutes.  If you are lucky enough to have more than a few minutes - look up the story of Rosa Parks, as another example of how the human spirit can change the course of history.

We may never be asked to risk our lives for our nation, but there will come a time for all of us, when we will have to make decisions about how we respond to difficult challenges.  The true measure of us as a person will be shown at that point - how will we behave when times are tough and challenging.  Will we step forward when courage is called for - or will we simply fold?  Will we have strength in our hearts to stand firm - or will we crumble under the pressure?

I have said this many times - because it is so important to remember - the Spirit of God is with us in all the circumstances of our lives - no matter what is happening around us, the Spirit of God is there - readily available for us to use however it is required - maybe sometimes as our prop, or as our inspiration - or as our encourager and supporter.  Our task as always, is to tap into that Spirit and to step forward with confidence into a world that needs people of courage and resilience.  Courage is not the absence of fear, but the ability to keep going, despite those fears.

Peace  Rev. Bruce Wood.