“How is the indwelling Spirit not relational?” – David Crabtree

Courage in Such a Time as This

There is no question that we all have been thrust into the vortex of a significant crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic is upon us, and every country is affected. It is not my job here to give you more information about it, or give another update. All has been said elsewhere, some of it good, and some it not so good. Some opinions have been downright idiotic(!).  For example, the new 5G cellular network is the cause of this pandemic. Rubbish!

However, I am interested in what God thinks about it, and I am interested in how believers might posture themselves in humility, and in courage.

I don’t think for one moment that God did it or sent the COVID-19 pandemic. I believe that the origins of this very serious epidemic can be specifically blamed on Satan himself who wants to prevent the greatest revival and the greatest response to the Gospel that ever was.

Right now, the people of God need to intercede for at least two outcomes.

  1. That the Epidemic ends, and,
  2. That the Gospel of the Kingdom of God advances powerfully and without hinderance.

We need revelation, and perseverance, and we need great courage. Speaking of Courage, I am reminded and drawn to Winston Churchill, Britain’s wartime leader.

Men and kings must be judged in the testing moments of their lives. Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities because . . . it is the quality which guarantees the others. – Winston Churchill

The Roaring Lion, an iconic portrait by Yousuf Karsh, taken at the Canadian Parliament, December 1941

While visiting Canada in February 1941, Lady Diana Cooper told Churchill that the greatest thing he had done was to give the British people courage. ‘I never gave them courage,‘ he replied. ‘I was able to focus theirs.’

We live in times that definitely require a stance of fearless, purposeful courage. During WWII, when England was facing its greatest threats, Churchill was undaunted in his view that the only way through was by courage and a ruthless resolve to fight for no less than victory. It is said that he used the English language as a formidable weapon against Nazi Germany who at that time were threatening to invade.

1939-1943 (the war ended in 1945) were dark years indeed. After the fall of France, England was alone and largely unprepared for the huge task ahead. To survive meant that Germany needed to be totally defeated. There was no option but to be aggressive, undaunted, and look for allies. The United States was holding on to an “isolationist” policy and refused to join the European war despite FDR’s friendship with Churchill.

There were those in England, including members of Churchill’s cabinet who leaned in the direction of appeasement. If Hitler can give us a good deal, we should sue for peace on his terms. Churchill would have none of it. There was no way that Hitler could be trusted, and the English-speaking world was in mortal danger. Churchill chose to fight!

I never gave them [the British people] courage. I was able to focus theirs. – Churchill

Forgive the extra “dose of Churchill” in this post, but I can’t help but but make the connection between the dire straits the British found themselves in, and the pressures that are on us right now while we’re in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. The temptation is to give in to fear and foreboding. BUT we shall not give in nor be fearful! God has already ordained His victorious conclusion, our job is to keep listening to Him as He makes “speeches” about a victorious outcome.

We, by our lives, our prayers, our courage, and our hope, are going to be a speech of courage to our communities and our cities.

Back to Churchill for a moment. For very interesting political reasons, Winston Churchill finds himself on May 10, 1940, the Prime Minister of Great Britain. For 10-15 years prior he had been the only voice warning a very unprepared nation that Hitler and Germany were up to no good, and that the country should prepare for war.

They had not prepared for war at all, and now Churchill was their leader. His speeches to Parliament in May of that year (1940) were stunningly remarkable.

I would say to the House, as I said to those who have joined this Government: “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.”

“Turning once again, and this time more generally, to the question of invasion, I would observe that there has never been a period in all these long centuries of which we boast when an absolute guarantee against invasion, still less against serious raids, could have been given to our people… I think that no idea is so outlandish that it should not be considered and viewed with a searching, but at the same time, I hope, with a steady eye. We must never forget the solid assurances of sea power and those which belong to air power if it can be locally exercised…

“…Sir, I have, myself, full confidence that if all do their duty, if nothing is neglected, and if the best arrangements are made, as they are being made, we shall prove ourselves once more able to defend our island home, to ride out the storm of war, and to outlive the menace of tyranny, if necessary for years, if necessary alone…”

“…At any rate, that is what we are going to try to do. That is the resolve of His Majesty’s Government – every man of them. That is the will of Parliament and the nation. The British Empire and the French Republic, linked together in their cause and in their need, will defend to the death their native soil, aiding each other like good comrades to the utmost of their strength…”

“…Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and if, which I do not for a moment believe, this island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old. – Winston Churchill to the British Parliament, May 13, 1940.

“We shall show mercy, but we shall not ask for it.” “Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill

The outcome is not in doubt. The Gospel will go to all the world, and Jesus will be victorious.

Persevere, have courage, and take a stand of faith. Wisdom and revelation need to prevail. Don’t believe every purported prophecy. Any prophetic word that has doom as a final outcome is false. This does not mean that times and circumstances won’t be tough. They can be. However, the final outcome will be a glorious result for the Kingdom of Heaven.

Uncertain times calls for certain courage. – David Crabtree