Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Courage to Face the Future

It takes an unusual kind of courage to face the enormity of being blown up in Afghanistan, losing limbs, and then facing life in a totally different way. Like the courage of Rifleman Craig Wood who was just 18 and was blown up by the Taliban on his first patrol. Losing three limbs and having 27 pints of blood he was given only a 50% chance of survival but he is facing this horrendous injury with an awe inspiring determination.  His youth, his strength before the terrible incident that nearly killed him, the excellent medical, surgical and nursing care are all contributing to his current recovery. Yet, no-one doubts the courage of this brave young man who said to his girlfriend "I have to make the best of it! I have lost a number of good colleagues, I know how lucky I am, in a way".

Courage comes in many shapes and forms.  The young officer walking out in front of his men so that he can detect and deal with the deadly IED's that threaten his troop is an obvious example.  I can think, though, of some examples of courage nearer to home.  A young friend has just endured a painful lung operation in London, a long way from home, and is facing the New Year in pain, knowing that he must move home in the first few days of 2010.  Still he can find examples of how God has helped him through the surgical ordeal and is trusting Him for his future (ably assisted by his wonderful family!)  Another dear friend is battling cancer that came as a complete mystery to him, his wife and children, and yet is testifying to God's amazing grace and presence with them in their trial.

And when you think of the Bible account of the first Christmas, courage came in large helpings too.  Mary chose to go God's way despite the possible loss of her partner Joseph (if he failed to understand or believe her) and in the light of scorn and disdain by her community.  Wise men set out from the East, facing the tyrant king Herod, and defying him, in the courage that faith always needs in order to prevail.

So, I am facing 2010 and asking God for courage.  I know I may well have to endure another long period of enforced 'nil by mouth' total pancreatic rest, and probably quite a while in hospital in London.  I know that the Holy Spirit is the 'spirit of boldness' and I'm looking to Him to help me.  And I can say, therefore, to you, whatever you are facing, that you need to ask Him to fill you with boldness, reassure you with His unique comfort, and walk beside you as your advocate, in a courageous New Year!