We had an early morning today getting our daughter to the airport for the first flight out. Our daughter is on her way to for a three day training camp before heading to Eswatini (formally known as Swaziland) and South Africa for a two month missions trip. As a father of a recent high school graduate (literally less than a week ago – 5/24/2019), it is hard to let my 18-year-old go off to the other side of the world over 9,000 miles away!
So when I see the words “Be Strong and Courageous” I am stretched today! Our family is going through a lot of “firsts” with our daughter this past month…first prom, first high school graduation, and now today the first flight alone in which she is travelling 719 miles away from home. As I type this, my baby girl is at the 683-mile mark…thanks to to the Flight Tracker, hahaha! For months now we have surrounded this trip in prayer and fasting, trusting that God will take care of the details but now that it is here I am struggling a bit, which is normal.
The Holy Spirit prompted me with a passage to comfort me and another man who needed some reminding too! His name was Joshua. I am going through the YouVersion Reading Plan called “The One Year® Chronological Bible” and the reading recently was from Joshua 1:6-9 (NLT) in which God was speaking to Joshua directly to encouraged him before going into the battle with the people of Jericho:
““Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. STUDY THIS BOOK OF INSTRUCTION CONTINUALLY. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. This is my command — be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. FOR THE LORD YOUR GOD IS WITH YOU WHEREVER YOU GO.””
Wow did I need that today!! Now these words were penned over 2,500 years ago but are still relevant for us today! I think the Old Testament gets a bad rap sometimes as being antiquated and inconsequential, however when you read Joshua 1:6-9, it is a great example not only of God’s omnipresence BUT also that we WILL face adversity and have to struggle in life EVEN with God on our side! In (4) verses God says to the newly appointed leader of the Israelite Nation, “Be strong and courageous” (3) times! That tells me that Joshua (and myself) need to work out our faith and trust God regardless of circumstances!
And how do we do that? Well that is right in the middle in verse 8, which says…
“Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.”
So, the question I have for you is, are you finding yourself drowning with the stresses of life with little hope? And if so, where do you find comfort? In your twitter feed or the water cooler advice section? The passage is clear, if you want to prosper and succeed, we must be meditating on the word of God to hear God’s voice. And if you do, verse 9 brings it home with the third reminder…
“This is my command — be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
I love the image of the little girl in the cape and mask, so fearless and ready to take on the world! That is how I say my daughter today as she went through security, turned back with a smile from ear to ear and waved good-bye. My daughter never ceases to amaze me, as she steps out in faith to go on this 2-month adventure to a place she’s never been, with people she’s never met before, she is trusting that God will direct her steps to minister to people who are desperately in need physically, emotionally and spiritually. Oh, that I may I have the same boldness to share my faith boldly! And you know it does not need to be in South Africa, it can be with the person in the next cubicle or the checkout person at the supermarket or someone at the lunch table at school. The word from God in this passage is that should not let fear stop us from being a conduit for His love, mercy and forgiveness to flow to those around us.
Before I finished writing this, I received these (3) texts from my daughter that put me to ease and reminded me that God is with her wherever she goes!
Got my bag
Meeting up with two of the other girls who are already here too
Maybe today you are facing some life changes like me or a bad report from the doctor or the loss of a job, if that’s you, listen to the words of God…Be Strong. Be Courageous. Be Fearless. Be Encouraged.
Trust in Him today to carry you through. I encourage you to press into God’s word like never before to help give you strength for whatever struggle you may be facing today!
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