During these days of crisis and uncertainty, the memories and experiences of the British people during the dark times of the Second World War come to mind. The nation faced a dangerous and seemingly unstoppable enemy army, as it marched across western Europe and nations fell before it. Many of the fears, conflicting information, opinions, and prejudices that we are feeling today echo those felt by the Britons in those desperate times.
I am reminded of Sir Winston Churchill's leadership and inspiration. Facing intense opposition by his own government, he resisted the pressure to capitulate and enter into peace negotiations with the German and Italian governments. Despite the incredible danger faced by private boat owners and fishermen, he motivated them to cross the English Channel and rescue 300,000 stranded British troops from the beaches of Dunkirk. He made the terrible decision to command the small garrison at Calais to hold off the German army, while the sea rescue went on. Churchill is often quoted as saying, "Success is not final; failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." His courage infected the people, and it turned the tide of the conflict.
Moses also urged the people of Israel (and us) to have courage.
Deuteronomy 31:6 – Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you. (ESV)
I have heard some definitions of courage: it is grace under pressure, fear that has said its prayers. Moses encouraged his people to keep their eyes on the Promised Land, because of the inheritance that God had offered them — even when it meant being somewhere that they had never been before. There was also new leadership; Joshua had been trained by Moses as his successor. Joshua had strong faith, was decisive, and was obedient to God.
Pray for our leaders today, that God will give them the faith and courage to lead our nations out and conquer any pandemic that threatens us. Be inspired by the courage and "V for Victory" of Churchill, and know that the same God is faithful and walks with us in our struggles. Victory is not won through force of arms, human abilities, or scientific strategies; it is from God Himself.
Prayer: Dearest Lord, as we struggle to be brave during times of crisis, may we devote ourselves to reading Your Word for Your wisdom and encouragement, to praying in faith for our leaders, and to an unwavering faith in You. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "To God Be The Glory" (Lyrics)