"Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." (Joshua 1:9)
At Good Shepherd Lutheran Church we want you to be encouraged. That's one of the things the Bible does ... it encourages us. The above passage contain the last words of Moses to Israel before they entered the Promised Land. Moses knew he wouldn't have the opportunity to go into that land with Israel. He had disobeyed God and had place more trust in his staff than in God's words to him. For that, he wouldn't enter the land God had promised to His people. Some of us (many of us!) would say that it wasn't fair for Moses to receive such a punishment. He had faithfully led Israel, with all their gripes and complaints, for over forty years. What we forget is that God has plans that are bigger than just one person, even bigger than a nation of people. God has a plan for you and part of that plan is to be encouraged by His Word.
You may be looking at this passage and thinking "I'm not strong, and I don't feel very courageous." That may very well be true. Whether you are a disciple of Jesus or not; we don't always feel strong or courageous. More often than not, we feel more terrified and discouraged. Life can be frightening. We deal with many unknowns – the unknowns of health and employment; the unknowns of family and relationships; the unknowns of our future. Each of these unknowns has the capacity to terrify us. Sometimes, these unknowns terrify us to the extent that we can actually be paralyzed ... unable to make a decision or second-guessing our every decision as we go.
When we aren't terrified of what will happen in our lives, we can be discouraged of what is happening. Maybe you've recently lost your job, and a health concern, or a tragedy in your family. There are times when we don't like what we see in life. We get frustrated and, when it seems like everything we try is the wrong thing, we get discouraged. In the face of our discouragement, we turn inward trying to figure out where it is we went wrong and what we did to make our lives fall apart around us.
All of these encouragements ... to be strong and courageous, to not be terrified or discouraged ... find their realization in the end of this verse, "for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." God is with us. His love is with us all the time, for that love is from everlasting to everlasting. That love is made real in the person of Jesus Christ who offered Himself on the cross for you and rose again for you so that you could have life in His name. When we realize that our Lord is with us always, just as He has promised, then it's easier to be strong and courageous for that strength and courage come from the Lord and not from us.
May you know that in the Lord there is strength and courage for our Savior Jesus is with us wherever we go.
Have joy in the journey