“Alright, let’s do this. You’re on.”
The conference speaker’s words were like a sucker punch to the gut.
For a couple seconds, I could not breath.
In an effort to inspire us to charge fearlessly into our calling, the speaker was paraphrasing God’s discussion with Joshua, who had been prepped to take over after Moses died. The time had come for Joshua to step up and fulfill his assignment from God by leading the people into the Promised Land. Thousands of followers, a strange and new location, and no mentor to ask for advice.
What an incredibly big job.
When God said “it’s time to go”, I wonder if Joshua’s heart stopped for a moment. If he ran out of breath and tried not to panic. If he teared up and considered declining.
Did the task feel too big? Did he feel inadequate? Did he worry that he’d get it wrong or look foolish?
That’s how I feel sometimes when God gives me an assignment.
A few days ago, a preacher reminded me that God would not call us to be strong and courageous if we already were. God knew that while we typically get excited about our dreams and callings, life isn’t as glorious as we imagined once we start to get our hands dirty. God knew we’d get discouraged.
Which is why He gave specific instructions in the first chapter of the book of Joshua, advice that we can also follow.
1) He gave him authority over certain people and a specific space/territory. (vs.4)
2) He told him to be strong on the inside and courageous on the outside. (vs.6)
3) He said to obey God’s commands, to study and know the Scriptures. (vs. 7&8)
4) He stressed not to let fear or discouragement get to him. (vs. 9)
When I reviewed this passage after the conference (LifeWay Women’s Leadership Forum), I noticed something God had been impressing on my heart for several months. Not only did God promise that no one would be able to stand against Joshua, but He swore to bless him with an inheritance.
And twice God promised to be with him. Such powerful words of hope!
Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us! His last words before He returned to heaven was that He would be with us long after He physically left this world. What a privilege to know Him personally. And yet…
Sometimes we don’t act like we get it. Sometimes we forget Who He is or doubt what He’s capable of. We look at our negative circumstances instead of the One holding our hand through it.
How often have we flippantly tossed out the phrase “God is always with me”?
Do we really understand the weight of those words, or have we taken His holy presence for granted?
Many times in the Old Testament God calls Himself the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob. Following this explanation, He often says “Do not fear”, “I will be with you”, “I will grant favor and blessing”. That means something. It not only implies relationship and commitment, but also mutual respect. Abraham declared loyalty to God. And God declared loyalty to Abraham – He chose Abraham. And Issac. And Jacob.
Just like He chooses us, and declares loyalty to us. He doesn’t have to give us an assignment, and He doesn’t have to accompany us on the journey when He gives us a task. He doesn’t have to give us His strength, favor or blessing. He wants to. And because He goes with us, success is inevitable! The only way we can fail is if we don’t listen to Him.
The Great “I AM”. The One who created time and space, light and dark, land and water, breath and life. The Lord of hosts, God of angel armies. Elohim, the One True God, three persons in one. The King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Jehova Jira, Jehova Rapha, Jehova Nissi.
God! He says He’s always with us. Breathe it in and let the goosebumps trickle along your arms. Always.
What an honor.
What scary or difficult circumstances are you facing this week, this month, this year?
Go get it, Girl. You’re on.
And God is with you.