“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
My mother used to say things like “If your head wasn’t attached, you’d lose it.” And “If I’ve told you once I’ve told you a thousand times.” These pithy sayings from my mother were not unwarranted! Now as a parent myself, I think, my mother knew just what she was talking about! It is amazing what those around us can see while we often have a hard time seeing the forest for the trees ourselves.
This is what I picture God, the Creator of the universe, saying to His people in Joshua 1:9. “Don’t you know!? Have I not commanded you?! Listen!” As teachers and school administrators, these months and weeks after Christmas but before spring break are tough times. We can lose our temper or become exhausted to the point of frustration. Instead of hearing “can’t you just listen” take a deep look into God’s Word. Although He tells us to listen up, He follows up by saying “Do not be afraid.” Whether it is the push to get testing done, projects completed, curriculum mapped, or accreditation reports submitted, God tells us I am with you. What wonderful assurance!
The people of Israel wavered throughout their time between Egypt and Canaan. The desert was a rough place to gather, move and corral nearly a million refugees. However, God’s message was consistent: I am with you. When they got to the promised land and Joshua became their leader, the message was consistent: I am with you. Today when the world around us swirls in politics, sickness and despair, God’s message continues to be the same: I am with you.
Since we live on this side of the cross and grave, we know how it all turned out. Jesus lived a perfect life and rose again for us. Our salvation is secured. While we still are tempted to rely on ourselves and fret over the comings and goings of the day, the ancient words God spoke to Joshua still ring true: “Do not be afraid. I will be with you wherever you go.”
While the wise words of our parents will probably continue to ring in our ears, our faith can propel us forward in assurance that we do not have to do it on our own. Jesus has already done the important part for us: rose again and defeated death! May we live in the perpetual light of the empty tomb and walk in the path of Jesus, ever strong and courageous through Him!
Dear Creator, Savior, and Guide: May we always remember that on our own we can do nothing. Only through you can we access you and your salvation. Thank you for keeping us strong and courageous through faith and trust in you. Amen!
Written by: Dr. Jake Hollatz, St. John’s, Orange, CA