Stephen spoke about courage this morning. The lion in the ‘Wizard of Oz’ lacked courage; he wasn’t at all brave or fearsome like we would expect a lion to be, but was little more than a pussycat! For him, courage was ‘over the rainbow’, something in the distant future.

In the Bible, some characters seem very courageous (think of David, the little lad, taking on the big giant, Goliath). Others don’t seem very brave at all (think of Jonah, who preferred to turn tail and run in the opposite direction when facing something daunting.) Nonetheless, courage can be found and is available to us because God is always with us.

Genesis 26:24 says ‘Do not be afraid, for I am with you. I will bless you and will increase the number of your descendants for the sake of my servant, Abraham.’ Ultimately, it is God’s presence with us that is the source of our courage. Joshua was told ‘Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Josh 1:9) God is with us ‘wherever we go’. Because of this we can do amazing things (Ps 18:29), such as scaling a wall or advancing against the enemy! Life situations may vary, but God’s help is versatile, able to reach into whatever situations we may face.

Psalm 46:1 tells us that ‘God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble’. Whatever befalls us and comes against us will not prevail (see Is 54:7), because we can call on God – a God who is near, not distant, one who is willing to help us in all circumstances.