“Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”
Deuteronomy 31:6 (NKJV)
Here in Britain the Crimean War is probably remembered for three reasons: the Charge of the Light Brigade, Florence Nightingale and the Victoria Cross.
The Crimean Campaign was the first to be covered by regular correspondents. They wrote about the disgraceful shortages of proper clothing and equipment, (some things never change), the ravages of cholera and typhoid fever which caused the deaths of 20,000 men against the 3,400 killed in battle. They also reported for the first time the courage and endurance of the British soldier—when the infantry stormed the heights above the Alma River, when the 93rd formed the “thin red line” at Balaclava, when the Heavy Brigade charged the Russian cavalry and the Light Brigade charged the Russian guns. During those battles, courage and endurance were the order of the day.
A year after the war, in January 1855, the Duke of Newcastle, at that time Secretary of State for War, wrote to Prince Albert (Queen Victoria’s husband), suggesting a new decoration open to all ranks to be awarded for “a single act of valour in the presence of the enemy.” To date 1,357 have been awarded since it came into being in 1856. This cross named after Queen Victoria and made from the metal of cannons captured at Sebastopol, with its blood red ribbon, simple says—“For Valour.”
Throughout scripture God’s people are exhorted to be of good courage and valiant as they face each day in his service. “Take courage,” it says in 2 Chronicles 19:11 (NLT) “as you fulfil your duties, and may the Lord be with those who do what is right.” David, in the Psalms cries out, “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord” (Psalm 27: 4 NIV).
On his last evening with his disciples prior to his death by crucifixion Jesus encouraged them, saying; “I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have overcome the world!” (John 16:33 NLT). Always remember; our courage comes because of what He has done; we don’t get a cross but obtain courage and victory because of His valour and his cross!
As John Bunyan wrote in his famous hymn; “He who would valiant be ‘gainst all disaster, let him in constancy follow the Master.” Wise words!
Lord, give us all an abundance of wisdom and courage as we follow where you lead and fulfil your will, knowing that you have indeed overcome the world and that your victory is also ours.
Study by Cliff Neill
Grace Communion Church Luton
Farley Hill Methodist Church
North Drift Way
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