When a baby is born it comes into the world without any sense of caution or apprehension. It is instinctively trusting so that it is able to bond with it’s parents, whose job it is to care for and protect this helpless little person. But as a child grows it develops new skills and abilities – to roll, to sit, to communicate – it also develops emotionally too. At around 9 or 10 months old most happy healthy children go through a phase of becoming clingy and anxious about being separated from their parents. Where previously they were smiley and happy to see new faces and interact with new people – suddenly they become nervous of, even alarmed by, strangers. This is a normal process – and that caution is part of how we are designed so that we are safe. We learn to feel wary of height, or fire, or barking dogs, so that as we gain the ability to explore our world we don’t get hurt. But sometimes that instinctive caution, designed to protect us, can become a big deal. Sometimes fear can grow in us to the point that we are irrationally overcome and unable to do things that are actually not dangerous for us – or indeed the very things we are called to do! Even valid caution when it steps in the way of us being obedient to God is a problem! Thankfully we have some brilliant stories in the bible to help us to gain back perspective – one such story is that of Joshua.
“After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ assistant; “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the River Jordan in to the land I am about to give to them- to the Israelites. I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses.” Joshua 1:1-3
There is a member of my family who when you ask him how he got on somewhere, or how his day was he will respond with a very enthusiastic “average”. I have a daughter who’s standard response to similar questions is a genuine “awesome” every single time! They have become catchphrases because they use them so frequently. God speaks to Joshua after Moses death using this phrase “Be strong and courageous” four times in this one chapter! I like to think it’s one of God’s favourite catchphrases (See Deut 31:6, Isaiah 35:4, 1 Chron 28:20, 2 Chron 32:7, etc), but what is so brilliant about when God speaks strength and courage to you that it isn’t just a suggestion or a piece of advice. When He speaks to Joshua, and when He speaks to us, He uses the same voice that He created the world with. The same voice that spoke light into darkness creates strength where we are weak and boldness where we are frightened. But what is the basis for our strength and courage? God promises Joshua that He will be with him everywhere he goes. And He has also promised never to leave us or forsake us. Jesus was forsaken at the cross so that we will never be separated from His love! So now, even when our fears are rational ones, there is not a height higher, a fire hotter or a bark louder than Him who is with us. I love that scene from the Prince Caspian Movie where Lucy, a little girl, stands on the bridge and all the hordes of enemies she faces on the other side of the river quake because she doesn’t stand alone – she has Aslan beside her! “If God is for us, who can be against us?” And if God is with us then no fear can stop us from taking ground!
I hope and pray this blog encourages (meaning to put in courage) you today, and that you know His perfect love that is the ultimate fear expeller. Thanks so much for taking the time to read. Love Rach. x