I can say without a doubt that most of us have looked up this entire verse within the last few weeks. I have read the book of Joshua and that verse is so comforting.
“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.” Joshua 1:9
Fun fact: this was not the first time the Lord had spoken to Joshua to be STRONG AND COURAGEOUS. Prior to this the Lord had told Joshua on two other occasions to be strong and courageous.
It makes me wonder - why? I think Joshua had to be feeling overwhelmed and anxious, emotions that most of us have felt during these times, and that’s okay because you are not alone.
Joshua was leading the people of Israel into the promise land; it was a big responsibility; there was a lot of land to conquer and a lot that Joshua and the people of Israel had to do to conquer it. It was not a task for the weak-hearted. Maybe that’s why Joshua needed God to keep reminding him that he needed to be strong and courageous (in no way am I saying Joshua was weak hearted, the man served under Moses. He was trained for the position he was given). Honestly, I need God to remind me that He is with me daily. I am sure we all do, no matter our responsibility, there is a dependence we have on the Lord and there is no shame in that.
There is so much that is going on in the world. Being human, having emotions is one of the ways in which we understand our world; but we are also children of God. So, we cannot settle on those emotions. Jesus overcame so much on the cross and the feelings of anxiety and fear are emotions he overcame. “Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” We serve an omnipresent God, which goes on to support the fact that the God of the universe walks with us. After Jesus ascended into heaven he sent the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is someone who resides in your heart. You are not alone, no matter how big or small the emotions you might be feeling are. Take some time to allow that truth to sink in.
I believe God is doing something here, that He’s trying to prepare the church for a move unlike any other we have ever seen. We have been given time. What a gift! Time to seek him, time to grow. Are you seeking him now that you have the time? Are you preparing yourself for whatever comes next after this stay at home order/pandemic is done? When you go back to work? Or God gives you a better job than the last one that you had, to talk to the co-worker who asks how to cope with all that has happened? Are you building your faith to be shameless about talking about Jesus? I hope and pray that you haven’t let this time slip away, that you have taken time to seek God, in worship, prayer, and by reading the bible; or even pushing the Bible icon on your phone.
My brothers and sisters in Christ, I pray that you are strong and courageous; that you know the God you serve is always with you.
By: Kayra Ayala