Strong and Courageous

One of the verses I’m constantly repeating to myself is Joshua 1:9 - Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. It's one of the few verses I know by memory because my anxiety has caused me to repeat it often. 

I recently started going through a She Reads Truth study of Joshua because I wanted to understand why God kept telling him to not be afraid or discouraged. It feels easy to repeat this verse and remind myself to be strong and courageous and not afraid or discouraged, but why shouldn't I be when the world around me feels like an unreliable, unstable, unknown mess. I figured it was time to understand why this guy Joshua needed this reminder like I do.

This pregnancy has been rough on me emotionally. With Brighton, I felt so balanced, so joyful, so calm and at peace. With this pregnancy, I have been feeling so numb and depressed. It's been a huge battle for me because as a believer it's easy for us to say things like "the joy of the Lord is our strength" and "there's always hope" etc...but I have been struggling to get myself out of this proverbial pit. I have good days, I have bad days. I struggle to fully enjoy my time with Brighton, knowing a little sister is on the way. I struggle to enjoy the time I get alone with Jon, preoccupied with all the "to dos" and "what ifs". 

In Joshua, we are reminded that God is with us WHEREVER we go. The Israelites wandered the desert for years, some of them not able to live to see the day that God fulfilled His promise. When Joshua was appointed to finish what Moses had begun, I can only imagine the fear and uncertainty that overcame him. So much so, that within the first chapter and not even 10 verses into his story, God has to tell him to not be afraid or discouraged, because "I'm here and I'm not going anywhere."

God's instructions were clear, but He never mapped out the entire plan for Joshua and the Israelites. He gave them just the right amount of information they would need to get through the task in front of them. But one thing remained the same, they were to fix their eyes on the arc of the covenant (a symbol of the presence of the Lord). It's a reminder to me too to keep my eyes fixed in the right place, despite the fact that I have no idea what I'm doing, where I'm going, or what lies ahead. Wherever I am now and wherever I am going, God is here and already there. 

God was gracious to the Israelites and continued to be faithful to His promises. He delivers. He delivers on His word and He delivers us from slavery. It's a relief to know that even when I make mistakes or feel like I'm far away from God, that He will still be faithful to His promises to me. He can deliver me too.

Multiple times in Joshua's story, we see God telling him to be strong and courageous. Even this man who was chosen by God to lead the Israelites to their promised land had to be reminded by God Himself, that he was not alone on this journey. The God of the universe was walking Him step by step through conquering some of the most powerful kings and cities to bring the Israelites home. Isn't that amazing?

Right now, as I find myself feeling hopeless and discouraged, weak and unsure, God reminds me through Joshua's story to keep my eyes on Him and be strong and courageous because He is with me even here. 

An old Puritan prayer says this: "Herein is love; when I cannot rise to Him, He draws near on wings of grace to raise me to Himself."

Maybe you're currently feeling like me. Lost, uncertain, unsure, forgotten. Maybe you aren't, but chances are at some point in your life you might experience something that has you feeling anything but strong and courageous. While I don't have this all figured out, I do know this: God wants to draw near to us on those wings of grace and I am so grateful we don't have to have it all together for Him to love us and fulfill His promises. I need that reminder often. Maybe you do too.