The topic for assemblies at Southam St James CofE Academy this half term is ‘Courage’ and after a recent assembly I spent some more time thinking about what it means to have courage and also what it means to encourage someone else. It is always good to be surrounded by people who will encourage you through life, whether they’re there for a reason, a season or a lifetime. Throughout the Bible, God promises to be with people and encourages them to have courage and to trust Him. In the Book of Exodus (chapters 3 & 4) in the Bible, I was reading about how God encouraged Moses. The story went something like this (forgive the paraphrasing!).
- Moses is doing his daily task of being a shepherd when suddenly God speaks to him and Moses hides his face from God.
- God tells Moses that He has heard the cry of the people in their suffering and gives Moses the task to lead His people out of slavery in Egypt and Moses responds with ‘Who am I that I should go?’
- God promises to be with Moses. Moses responds with ‘What if they question me as to who sent me?’
- God tells Moses what he should say and what will happen. Moses responds with, ‘What if they don’t believe me or listen to me?’
- God reveals His power. Moses comes up with another excuse and questions his own eloquence as he is ‘slow of speech and tongue’.
- God replies that He is Creator God and He will help Moses and give him the words to say. Moses responds by asking God to send someone else!
- God provides someone else to go with Moses. In fact, Moses’ brother, Aaron, who speaks eloquently is already in his way to meet Moses!
I wonder when you read the above, whether you recognise yourself and/or your own responses to opportunities that life offers you? I know that I certainly recognise myself at various different stages of my life in Moses’ story. I wonder if when you have a new opportunity or a hope or dream, you immediately shy away from it, then doubt yourself – ‘Who am I to do this?’ We can always think of someone else that is better suited to the job, or they can do things much better than us.
Does the dream stop there? Or do you move on to other fears and doubts, ‘What if I don’t know enough?’ or ‘What if no-one listens?’ And then move on to all the reasons that you wouldn’t succeed because of your own perceived weaknesses. As I said at the beginning, we all need encouragers who give us the courage to take steps along own journey – and even if it’s a baby step, it’s still a step! Just like Moses, we all come up with so many excuses in life to not take the first step and we put lots of obstacles in our way. But if we journey with God like Moses did and ask Him for help, He’ll always provide, He’ll encourage us and He’ll remove the obstacles so that we can follow the way that He has planned for us.
That might sound very simplistic and I know that life can be much more complicated, however I also know that God’s provision and encouragement have been my own experience. It doesn’t mean that life has always been easy, but I know that I’ve got through the highs and lows of life because of the courage and encouragement that God has given in lots of different ways and through lots of different people – despite my self doubt and questions! So take heart, take courage and trust the One who has overcome it all.