Grace's Spiritual Leader
Rev. Rafael Cubilette, OSL
Secretary - Cheryl Riehle
Custodian & Maintenance - Joe Hoffman
Treasurer - George Louthain
Choir Director- Elizabeth Spees
Bell Choir Director- Judie Batterman
Christian Education - Sandi Tennessen
"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 1:6-7, 9 NIV
Can we be "strong" and "courageous" in tough times? Being more specific, can we be "strong" and "courageous" in this time when the world seems to succumb to the pandemic known as COVID-19 or coronavirus? As a Christian can we praise the Lord? Can we worship the Lord? Can we strengthen our relationships with God, with our families, with our friends and with our neighbors? Can we?
In the midst of these profound challenges we are living, a time of affliction, panic, suffering, anxiety, worry, fear, uncertainty, a time of trial for our faith, and a time when we are looking for help, the living word of the Lord rises up and speaks to us in surprising ways. Let's see some biblical passages and how they speak to us in this time of profound challenges.
The Prophet Nehemiah said, "Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength." ~Nehemiah 8:10 NIV; while the Psalmist David tell us, "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging". ~Psalm46: 1-3 NVI; God is always with you in the present and in the future. And the Lord tells Joshua, "Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go." "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 1:6-7, 9 NIV.
I am going to focus my attention on that last part, "Be strong and courageous". Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." or wherever you are.
The words “strong” and “courageous” take on various meanings in our culture, but the Bible gives us a very different view from the worldly standards.
If we observe carefully, three times in this passage Joshua is commanded by the Lord to be strong and courageous (1:6, 7, and 9). The purpose of these commands is to help Joshua take his eyes off himself, his challenges, his enemies, his weaknesses, and to place his eyes on the source and resource of true strength and courage in the midst of the profound challenges.
This call for Joshua, and to us, to be strong and courageous is a call for him to willingly and boldly conduct his life in obedience to God. Here we are talking about the strength and courage to honor our God. Here we are talking the strength and courage of the good news, that God doesn’t give up on us and God is always there to love, to help and to guide us in tough times, because God is our refuge, shelter, comfort, and strength, an ever-present help, and we only need to lift up our eyes faithfully to the hills, from where our help come, as long as we recognize our powerlessness, our weakness.
My beloved Friends, we are blessed to learn that God is always with us and will never leave us alone. We are blessed to learn that God is our helper, our keeper, the one upon whom we can always depend; the one who gives love, meaning, hope, promise, forgiveness and healing to our lives, also in this time when the world seems to succumb to the pandemic known as COVID-19 or coronavirus.
Finally, we need to understand that this call for Joshua, and to us, to be strong and courageous came as the result of a series of preparations of what God was doing in Joshua's life and in our lives. By the sovereign will of God, He is doing work in our lives that is a preparation for our calling to be strong and courageous in walking in His will. I want to invite you, in this time of quarantine, to examine some biblical passages in the New Testament that command us to “be strong” (1 Cor. 16:13; Eph. 6:10; and 2 Tim. 2:1).
"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Your servant in Christ,