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Take Courage

April 23, 2018

‘Courage, dear heart’ – C. S. Lewis

Courage is my favourite word. It’s what Aslan whispers into Lucy’s ear when there is a storm on the ship in C. S. Lewis’s Voyage of the Great Dawn Treader, bringing calm in the chaotic.

In French, the word courage is linked to the word for heart (coeur), so that encouraging and heartening phrase ‘bon courage’ (or simply ‘courage’) translates as ‘take heart, be of good courage’.

But without a source of hope or reason for courage, these words are left hanging, an empty exhortation. It’s like saying, ‘don’t worry’ to someone who is anxious without giving them a basis for peace of mind (we’ll come back to why we need not worry in another post).

Where can we draw courage from when we feel discouraged or even afraid? What basis do we have for taking heart? Some would say from within, others would say from those around us, but we don’t have an endless supply and sooner or later we’ll find ourselves confronted with doubt, fear or disappointment.

Take heart! The Bible points to the reason and the source: we need not be afraid if we put our confidence in God, because he promises to be with us, to strengthen us, and to re-source us with courage.

‘Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go’ (Joshua 1:9).

This verse hinges on the ‘for’: we need not be discouraged, for God is with us (and for us), encouraging our hearts as we look to him for strength, and as we follow Jesus (Joshua – Yeshua), in step with the Spirit (Galatians 5:25).

‘Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD’ (Psalm 31:24).

We don’t need to conjure up courage; it’s ours for the taking!

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May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word’ (1 Thessalonians 2:16-17).

 

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