Life can be a risky business.
Many everyday activities carry with them some measure of risk. Simple things like getting out of bed, breathing the air and walking the dog can be at times surprisingly risky.
- I jumped out of bed and broke my leg;
- my Sydney relatives complain the bush fire affected air is toxic;
- my friend took her dog for a walk and ended up in hospital, a victim of a vicious dog attack.
Life can be unpredictably dangerous. Just after Christmas, we were privileged to share dinner with a New South Wales firefighter. She told us some of the risks she and her colleagues face on a daily basis defending people, flora, fauna and property from flames.
What tremendous COURAGE firefighters display across our nation. If I were Prime Minister, I would double their pay and treble their leave entitlements.
Seeing their bravery every evening on television has caused me to ponder how relatively safe my life is and how little courage I display in facing the minor challenges of life. Too easily I find myself being risk averse.
In relationships it is tempting to be a people pleaser and not have the courage to face and work through difficult issues. In times of conflict where flight and fight mechanisms can emerge, the path of avoidance and retreat can be the easy option.
In facing new challenges and opportunities that call for exploring new ground and new experiences, we can cling to the safe and the familiar rather than embrace the new.
At times I have not just prayed for our firefighters, I have prayed that I might have some of their courage. Many of my heroes in the Bible are people who displayed great courage.
Abram is a classic.
He was a crusty pensioner when God called him out of his comfortable retirement to leave everything behind and go on a journey where the destination was unknown. How courageous.
I think of Moses who was looking after sheep and minding his own business, when God called him through a burning bush to confront the injustices of a tyrannical ruler. I ponder on the courage of Jesus who could have bypassed the cross, but instead showed great courage in being obedient to the will of God.
I am challenged and stirred by the courage of our Biblical heroes of faith and our firefighting heroes.
God give us courage, we need it.
Rev Steve Francis