Well here I am, only a few more days before I have to leave DÉFI. It has been a great experience, I am so thankful to God for bringing me here. The community, friends, and experiences that I have will not quickly leave my thoughts. Here I have been challenged to grow, learn, and depend on God and his purpose for my life. Now I have to turn the page and start a new chapter.
You know what is hard about turning the page? Not knowing what is on the other side. I’m really comfortable where I am: I know when my meals are, I know where I’m going to sleep, basically what I’m going to do for the day, and who I will see. But now I have to turn the page and I don’t know what is going to happen.
I have ended this chapter at a cliffhanger. Going to Lyon is a scary prospect. When I think about going to Lyon it causes knots to form in my stomach, tears to well up in my eyes, and my stress levels rise. I have a date for a test, but no time, and I have nowhere to live yet. But through all the uncertainties, I have one assurance – God.
I was looking through my bible for some encouragement this week and I found these two verses. I chose to dwell on these verses because of two common words – strong and courageous.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
Ok so let me give some context to these verses. The first one is Moses speaking to the children of Israel. They have been wandering in the desert for 40 years and now they are finally going to leave! But Moses doesn’t want a repeat of last time (which got them stuck in the desert for the 40 years), so he reminds them to put their focus on God.
The next verse is God talking to Joshua. God knows that what Joshua is going to have to do to reclaim the land that God has given them is going to be difficult. He knows how easy it is to lose focus, so he is encouraging Joshua to continue to focus on him. No matter how impossible, or possible, the situation seems “the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Being courageous is the act of having courage, and courage is “the ability to do something that frightens one,” or “the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty.” There is great purpose (I believe) with putting “Be strong and courageous” before everything else: it is focus. As I have been told many a time before, what you focus on you give power to. The verses begin with “Be strong and courageous,” because it is meant to be motivational and have the people that are being spoken to focus on who they are meant to be. The next parts of these verses then go into removing the fear that weakens courage and strength. Then they end with why we can be strong and courageous and have no fear. Because “the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Right there focus change!
When I focus on God, my fears fade. Why? Because I know that my God cares for me and provides for all my needs (Matthew 6:31-34). He is all-powerful. There is nothing in this world that is too hard for him (Jeremiah 32:27). He knows that there are things that we face that frighten us. He gets that. But through them he says, “Be strong and courageous [because I am the Lord, the God of all mankind and I] the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
There is no need to fear because my ally is God, and he doesn’t leave me and he won’t abandon me; he always goes with me. Where? Wherever I go! And right now, as I wait, I know that he is working and he is moving in my life. He is enough for me. While I wait I will be strong (Colossians 1:11) and courageous (Psalm 56:3), by simply living each day, putting one foot in front of the other trusting that I won’t fall, but that my foot will rest on his solid ground (Psalm 18:30-36).
“Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” Psalm 27:14