Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.
I have found yet another benefit of growing old, especially when you grow old in the Lord. So often now, I come across scriptures that remind me of ordeals from my life in which specific verses have taken on rich and powerful meaning. These were God’s words to me in times of crisis and great challenge.
Today’s selected scripture is one such verse. Joshua 1:9 is a “been there-done that” verse of scripture for me. As I read it I say to God, “I remember when You first told me this as if it was yesterday. I read it, believed it, and You proved Your words to be absolutely true. Ever since then, whenever I have needed strength and courage I have turned to these words because I know them to be true. Thank You, Lord for proving Your word to be completely true and reliable in my life.”
What an incredible promise! “God will be with you wherever you go.” Through every life-change, every crossroads, every crisis, ever challenge, every danger…God is with you. Sometimes you can feel the overwhelming power of His presence. Other times He seems so distant that you may even wonder if He is still there. But….in reality, He is always with you every second and in every situation.
God looks after us like a parent watches over a small child. When my granddaughter was a toddler I took her to a park on a hot summer day. It was on that occasion I learned that God had granted her the gift of incredible speed. Those little legs could move at a super-human pace from one end of the park to the other. But I wasn’t about to let her out of my sight. So I ran…and ran….huffed and puffed…and at times even thought that if she didn’t slow down soon I would have a heart attack. Similarly, as we dart about from thing to thing and crisis to crisis, God stays right there with us.
Remember the old fad from when people put caution signs on their cars that said, “Baby Onboard?” However, more than just “God Onboard,” He resides within us. The Godhead; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Jesus said, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” (John 14:23) In 1 Cor 3:16 Paul teaches, “you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you.”
Sometimes we read a passage of scripture and wonder if it has personal application or if it only applied to someone in biblical times. When God told Joshua “Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go,” Joshua was facing the challenge of taking God’s people into the promised land. He was taking on a divine mission of extraordinary proportions. But was that promise intended for you? Yes, in fact, God does make such a promise to you through the words of Jesus in Mt 28:20. “…surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Again in Hebrews 13:5 we are reminded “God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’”
All of us face problems and difficulties that can cause fear and discouragement. A popular word that describes our response to these tough times is “stress.” I have read that there are at least 10 causes of extreme stress. Can you relate to any of the following causes of stress?
- Death of a Spouse
- Jail Term
- Injury or Illness
- Family problems
- Death of a close friend or a relative
- Fired from job
- Financial problems
Are you going through anything like what is represented on the stress list? I just want you to know that through every stressful situation life throws at you, God will be with you. You may not feel very strong and courageous. That’s why it’s so important to rely on His strength and courage.
Is there somebody in your life whose very presence comforts you and gives you strength? A few days ago my wife was having a particularly bad day. When I came home she said, “I feel better now that you are here.” There have been times when I too have been going through a tough time and just having her there has provided me with much needed comfort. In a much more powerful way God is there for you right now.
God wants you to know that He loves you and that He will give you what you need to get you through your predicament. In His presence you will find rest, comfort, and shelter from the storm.
For more on this topic, check out this article: Do You Trust God No Matter What?
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 1 (January – March) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.