Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.”

Joshua 1:6-7 “Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them. Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.”

II Timothy 1:7 “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

Esther 4:14b “and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

Captain Robert Scott, British Royal Navy, was a renowned adventurer and explorer. During his 1912 expedition to the south pole, his return trip was fraught with extraordinary hardship, unplanned challenges, and stark tragedy. From his frigid tent, on March 29, 1912, he wrote the following courageous letter to his countrymen before slipping off into eternity:

“We are weak, writing is difficult, but for my own sake I do not regret this journey, which has shown that Englishmen can endure hardships, help one another, and meet death with as great a fortitude as ever in the past. We took risks, we knew we took them; things have come out against us, and therefore we have no cause for complaint, but bow to the will of Providence, determined still to do our best to the last. But if we have been willing to give our lives to this enterprise, which is for the honour of our country, I appeal to our countrymen to see that those who depend on us are properly cared for.

Had we lived, I should have had a tale to tell of the hardihood, endurance, and courage of my companions which would have stirred the heart of every Englishman. These rough notes and our dead bodies must tell the tale.”

In November of that year, Scott’s letter was discovered, and it and the dead bodies of the exploration party told their courageous tale in a powerful and poignant way.

If this Englishman can serve so faithfully and face challenges so gracefully in service to his country, then so much the more should we do so for our Lord and Saviour. Truly, American Christians have been called to our own journey, in our own challenging circumstances, in a 21st Century society fraught with extraordinary hardship and unplanned challenges.  In doing so, God has called us to be strong and courageous as we follow His path while turning neither to the right nor to the left. He will not leave us, nor fail us, nor forsake us. He has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

As a result, may we endure the hardships, help one another, and serve with great fortitude. In spite of the obstacles we face, may we have no cause for complaint as we bow to the will of Providence, determined to do our best to the last.