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The past few weeks have brought us the Commonwealth Games. With more than 5,000 athletes competing from 71 nations supported by 15,000 volunteers. It would have been hard to miss the daily stories and achievements of athletes from around the world, some with amazingly inspirational backstories. One such athlete, I found particularly inspiring was Kurt Fearnley, who concluded his more than 20-year marathon racing career with a win in the T54 Marathon.

An inspiration because of his determination. He won two medals at the Paralympics that followed the Sydney Olympics and won Gold in Athens and Beijing. And in between the Games and Olympics has competed in countless marathons.

If that were not enough, he is married with two children, has crawled the entire 96km of the Kokoda Trail and has taken part in the Sydney to Hobart yacht race.

“Some of the most memorable moments are the hardest moments — they’re the things that you eventually become most proud of.”

“The days you wake up and you win, they’re … they’re awesome! They’re the easy days.”

“Those days you wake up and you can barely drag yourself out of bed, where you’re in so much pain and discomfort and mentally just trying to grind yourself to just believe — they’re the tough days, and they’re the ones that I’m proud of.”

This quote certainly struck a chord with me and I am guessing with many people.

So all of this got me thinking – what was the essential element to all that Kurt Fearnley does, and the answer I came up with is courage. Courage and strength.

So now rewind back approximately 3,500 years and a man named Joshua is put in charge of leading God’s people home from Egypt to Israel, and Moses has just died. How is he to lead these hundreds of thousands of people?

In Joshua chapter 1 the Lord speaks and says:

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go

And then in the text that follows the words ‘be strong and courageous’ are repeated twice in quick succession.

Be strong and courageous – ever wondered what decision to make – be strong and courageous – ever felt like you were overwhelmed? – be strong and courageous – ever wondered what direction to take – be strong and courageous: Why? Well, the ancient promise says, ‘because the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.’

Alison Andrew, School Chaplain