Heathdale flower 17th February 2022


What do you think of when you hear the word 'courage'? Do you picture taking on the challenge in your life, or have you considered that might even be more about surrender?

Heathdale flower

As a kid, my Dad would take me to an AFL football game each week.

My Dad grew up in the inner northern suburbs of Melbourne and consequently became a keen North Melbourne (Kangaroos) fan. One of the reasons why I loved going to the footy with my dad was he knew so many people associated with the club and was often able to get us into the changerooms either before or after a game.

I must admit that I enjoyed the pregame visits most, as there was the exciting anticipation that this week we could beat the other team, so there was always a lot of energy and a high level of anticipation in the changerooms.

However, North Melbourne was not that good and would lose far more games than they would win, so the atmosphere was often very downcast and sullen after the game!

A strong memory during this period was North Melbourne had secured a very lucrative sponsorship form a local beer brewer, and their main brand of beer was known as Courage! There was this large slogan over the back wall that read, ‘North HAS Courage!’ This was a deliberate play on words but my young mind used to wonder: to get courage, do you need to drink beer?! It clearly didn’t mean this, but my confused understanding at this time, is probably reflective of many people’s misunderstanding of what is truly courage.

This childhood memory came flooding back to me when I recently read in the Bible the following verse. It comes from a book in the Old Testament; “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)

Courage is strength in the face of fear. We all experience fear. This can come from an external threat or our own internal insecurities. For some, fear can completely wreck their lives. Fear provides a positive defence mechanism in the face of danger, yet it can become our master rather than an effective servant.

Fear works to our advantage once we learn how to leverage it to serve us in life. Many of us have imbibed fear with our mother’s milk. Observing a variety of situations growing up can create a fearful reaction within us when confronted with a similar set of circumstances. It may feel unreasonable yet remains our reality.

I don’t know about you, but once I feel scared, I become more frightened. Whether it’s from watching a scary movie, creaks and unexplained noises in the middle of the night, it causes my heart to beat faster simply because I’m in a heightened state of fearfulness!

Courage is not facing our enemy down; as the Apostle Peter tells us to resist the devil, our foe, by submitting to God and watching our enemy flee. The Bible defines courage as allowing ourselves to place our trust in God, accepting that God is with us, despite what circumstances appear to say.

One thing is certain: regardless of how and where we find ourselves at this moment, there is a biblical promise we can all stand on, and that is God is with us! God promises to never forsake us. Of course, much of fear is experienced through our feelings, we can make the mistake of assuming this is how we know God is with us. However, feelings are volatile and do not provide any measure of the degree to which God’s presence is with us.

As we move into 2022, amidst all the challenges that a new year brings, let alone those of a pandemic, something we will be encouraging our students and their families to do is to memorise this verse from Deuteronomy. As we do, we will be able to remind ourselves every day that waking with God means "He will neither fail nor forsake us.”

This is part of our identity; this is who we are and who God calls us to be. May this be your experience today and for the rest of the year and people will say the people of the Heathdale community have courage as they know God will never leave nor forsake us!

Ross Grace Executive Principal