Courageous thinking

Who was it that wanted courage in The Wizard of Oz story?

It was the lion, of course.

He asked the Wizard for courage because he was not brave enough to play the role as the King of Beasts. When he finally met the Wizard (who was no Wizard at all, but just a con man from Omaha), he is told that he is simply a victim of “disorganised thinking”.

He was given a dish of unknown liquid to drink and a medal with the word “courage” to wear on his chest. He changes his thinking and begins to act more courageously.

The dictionary describes courage as “bravery in the face of fear”. Do we have to be afraid to have courage? No, it relates to the actions we take when we are afraid.

Or perhaps, it has more to do with what’s going on in our heart. Proverbs 28:1 says “The wicked flee though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion”.

When there is nothing to fear, the wicked flee. Perhaps it’s a guilty conscience, perhaps a hidden sin, perhaps the fear of being found out.

I am a Judge John Deed fan. I love his integrity and strength in the face of all opposition – he is as bold as a lion. Those who oppose him, mostly his political masters and scheming colleagues (and ex-wife), act with much pomp and pretense but become weak creatures the moment he stands up to them.

When frightened, the wicked (those who do the wrong thing) have nothing from which they can draw their strength. The righteous on the other hand, (those who do the right thing), can be bold because their strength comes from an inner integrity and a trust beyond themselves.

Courage is not about being physically strong.

The bravest person I have known spent her last days in bed, unable to move, and only partly conscious as a tumour grew in her brain.

The women from church took turns to sit with her day after day, night after night holding her hands, praying with her and wiping her with cool cloths. She told us that we were not to worry, that she was not afraid and that she was thankful for our friendship. When she died, she said simply, “the time has come” and she breathed her last.

Do you need to be courageous going into the New Year? What is it that you fear? Where will you find your strength?

Sometimes are fears are simply “disorganised thinking”, sometimes they are real, but with a trust beyond ourselves in the One who has given and shaped our lives, we can build an inner strength which will allow us to be bold as a lion in the face of our fearful realities.

Be brave, be strong, the Lord is with you.

Rev David de Kock
General Secretary

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