A grizzle cock pigeon, known to the Air Ministry by the codename NPS.42.31066, is more intimately known as Gustav. This was the pigeon that brought back to London from the Normandy beaches the first news of Allied success on D-Day in 1944.
During his mission, Gustav was reportedly buffeted by a headwind of up to 30 miles per hour and his view of the sun – his primary means of navigation – was obscured by heavy cloud. But the plucky feathered warrior persisted and delivered the good news from the beaches to waiting military chiefs back in England. Gustav’s feat earned him the Dickin Medal, the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross. Sadly, Gustav found peacetime more perilous and met an end when his breeder stepped on him while mucking out his loft.
Courage is an admirable quality and one any of us might need at any time. From going to the defence of someone being threatened to standing ground against criticism of one of our actions or beliefs, we never know when bravery might be called for. Jesus, in the last week of his life, needed constant reserves of courage when his ideals were challenged, his friends uncertain of him and his physical well-being attacked.
As the manner of Gustav’s death suggests, courageous actions bring no guarantee of security. Neither, of course, does faint-heartedness though it often seems a safer bet than fearlessness. Nothing guarantees us protection from harm but there are times when what’s called for is courage with all its attendant risks. Jesus’ bravery took him to the cross. Let’s hope that if guts is what’s needed from us today, we won’t falter.
Read: Be strong and courageous (Joshua 1.6)
Rejoice: in people we know who show courage in their lives.
Reflect: Is there any situation I’m facing where I ought to be showing more courage?
Remember: being courageous in apparently inconsequential situations can be just as demanding and just as important as in more obviously important ones.
Resolve: to let Christ’s courage inspire me.