At the beginning of the book of Joshua, God takes him to edge of the Promised Land and describes all the area He's giving the Israelites. The problem with the scenario was that the land was already populated. With people who weren't ready to give up their nice homes and cities. Some were pretty BIG cities.
Yes, God told Josh THREE times...
"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
Then he let Josh know that he'd first have to cross the raging river Jordan before he could take down the enemy cities cluttering the Promised Land.
Easy peasy, right?
No worries, right?
A View From Above
Picture looking down at a great city from atop a skyscraper. Daunting. Amazing. Beautiful.
Those are a few words that come to my mind.
But what if the view of the sprawling city was filled with people who saw you as an intruder? What if the view was one obstacle after another?
How could we not be afraid?
I wondered that about poor Joshua as he stood on the banks of the Jordan River. Which he first had to cross. Somehow. Before he had to face the giants of that land.
Don't be afraid, God whispers. Be courageous, He suggests.
I'm with you, He promises.
Peace is one of the advent weeks leading up to Christmas.
Peace means so many things.
Lack of worry.
Accord with others.
Not at war.
Not in conflict.
Maybe we're not facing daunting cities, but we still face many giants in our lives: Financial struggles. Family strife. Sickness. Joblessness. Death of loved ones.
Yet, God doesn't deviate from his words we find throughout the Bible: Be strong and courageous. Do not fear. Peace be with you.
Can we look beyond the towering troubles that stand in our way and find a sense of peace in this season? Oh, but he's asking us to do just that. And it boils down to one thing. Can we trust Him? Can we hold onto the hope that He has overcome the world? That he loves us more than we can ever love ourselves? Can we find joy in the truth that he will never leave us, no matter what?
He sent his own son Jesus down to earth. A king who lowered himself off of his throne to come spend time with us. To show that he understands our struggles. He walked with us. Taught us. Suffered with us and took our sins from us.
We don't serve a God who stands aside and lets us do the dirty work.
The World will pound us with Should's and Neet To's. You should get over your addictions whatever they might be. You need to be more grateful and more giving. Should's and Have To.... They ring in our ears nearly all day long, don't they? Even if they are true, they sometimes leave us feeling helpless and discouraged.
But the God we serve...
He came down to live among us. He walked beside us. And through the Holy Spirt, he continues to walk beside us, saying, I know what you're going through. I understand your human experience. I love you and want to walk you through whatever it is your facing.
Cancer or another terminal diagnosis?
Loss of a job and no income?
Family discord or broken friendships?
He's right there with us.
Addictions we can't control?
Bad habits we feel stuck in?
Death of someone we care about, or loss of something important?
He's offering his hand to guide us through.
He made a way across the Jordan. This one act alone put fear in the hearts of the folks living in that land. He brought down the walls of Jericho. He led the Israelites into that land and they conquered it.
So, stop a moment. Let that sink in. Breathe in deep the sweet aroma of His love. Let his Peace rule in your hearts and lives. And most of all, trust in the promise He's given us. He's never gone back on his word. He never will.
Jackie Castle is an author, artist and dreamer. She lives in Texas with her husband, two grown children and her dog, Banjo. She looks for the extraordinary in the ordinary in everything she experiences.