“Be strong and of good courage;
do not be afraid, nor be dismayed,
for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
~ Joshua 1:9 ~
The proof of who God is in our lives and of our character is found in how we respond to adversity. September through November 2015 were part of God’s boot camp for us; refining is a tedious process, no steps can be excluded, or the product is marred.
Through everything that transpired in those months, God was with us. He had a plan and a purpose for what was happening to us and we had to trust Him to take care of us.
Study, Part 2
Before Moses died, God started encouraging Joshua in order to prepare him for the next part of the journey into the Promised land. Twice Joshua hears God’s encouragement in Deuteronomy 31:6,7-8:
“Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”
“Be strong and of good courage, . . . the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.”
God speaks these words to Joshua, repeatedly. Joshua 1:6, 7, 9:
“Be strong and of good courage…
“Only be strong and very courageous…”
“Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed.”
Joshua, in turn, spoke them to the people in Joshua 10:25, when they were fighting five kings:
Then Joshua said to them [the men of Israel and the captains of war], “Do not be afraid, nor be dismayed; be strong and of good courage, for thus the Lord will do to all your enemies against whom you fight.”
Joshua is not the only one to hear or speak these words, David also spoke them to his son, Solomon, in 1 Chronicles 28:20:
“Be strong and of good courage, and do it; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the Lord God—my God—will be with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you, . . .”
Daniel heard them from an angel in Daniel 10:19:
And he said, “O man greatly beloved, fear not! Peace be to you; be strong, yes, be strong!” So when he spoke to me I was strengthened, and said, “Let my lord speak, for you have strengthened me.”
Throughout the Old Testament God told many to “be of good courage”; their witness to us is found in Numbers 13:20, Deuteronomy 31:23, Joshua 1:18, 8:1, 2 Samuel 10:12, 1 Chronicles 19:13, 22:13, 2 Chronicles 19:11, Ezra 10:4, Psalms 27:14, 31:24, Isaiah 41:6.
The faith and hope that arose from 2 Chronicles 32 was continually tested. I did not fully understand what was happening, but I did learn that faith in our God will prepare us for next step of His plan, and that hope is the vehicle that transports us there; that is what Hebrews 11:1 is about, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
Two life-changing things happened in those months. The Lord made it evident that we were to trust Him to care for our bodies. He also made a way out of the apartment that had been our home for five years.
He used Acts 28:3, 5 to back up His promise that He would take care of our bodies, “But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat, and fastened on his hand. . . . But he shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm.”
It was hard to comprehend how He would keep this promise to us; we all had some physical affects from the gasoline fumes we were living with (headaches, mostly), but my respiratory system was compromised and my body developed an allergy to gasoline. My lungs hurt during those months of living at the apartment and sometimes my lips and tongue would swell slightly. The result is that I can no longer fill the car up at the gas station; someone else has to do it. I still believe, even with my body’s reaction to gasoline exposure, that He is taking care of our bodies. You see, the allergic reaction, though it still happens, is lessening in intensity and duration. Some may call it foolish, I call it faith and trust in the One who has said to me, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; In quietness and confidence shall be your strength” (Isaiah 30:15).
He kept His promise to part the sea for us by using the gasoline event as a means out of the apartment lease without having to pay a lease break fee! He also kept us from moving into another apartment that we would not have been able to afford. He also provided a place for us to live—we moved our belongings into storage on November 3rd and moved into my sister’s junior one bedroom (600 square feet) apartment.
Our God is faithful and thoughtful, too. November 4th, was Noah’s 18th birthday, and a day when we attended a Bible study in the morning and the evening. The love and encouragement Noah received from her group leaders and all the girls in the groups were like a healing balm and comforted her. It was the same for me. There is so much comfort in belonging to the family of God.
I encourage you to spend time reading through all these Scriptures, plus 2 Chronicles 32. You will find the strength and encouragement to move forward. Believing and trusting that our Father has the best purpose for what He is allowing into our lives, and that He is with us and for us, will keep us from spiraling into fear and dismay.
Take courage, dear one, be strong in Him, “for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
In the next part of this series, I will share the remainder of the study in 2 Chronicles 32 and the marvelous things God did for us while we remained in His boot camp.
Dear Father, awesome and mighty in Your deeds, loving and caring in Your purpose for us, You make us strong and courageous; You make a way for us and part the sea of difficulty when we are beset on every side. To You, O, Lord be all glory and honor and praise, for it is You who is with us and for us, who loves us and keeps us, and who makes it well with our souls. In Jesus’ name we pray and bless You, amen.