Last week, we talked a little about fear. More often than not, fear leads to distrust of God’s goodness and disobedience to His commands. Jesus encouraged us to believe rather than be afraid. I don’t think He’s advocating simple positive thinking, or some kind of abstract visualization. Fair enough. But believe what? Well, believe God. Okay, but that also sounds like an unsatisfying “church” answer. Let’s use God’s encouragement of Joshua for a framework of what truth we can cling to rather than our fear.
Have I not commanded you? 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
Have I not commanded you? – God is sovereignly in control of every situation, even the ones that cause us anxiety and fear. This is important. The circumstances are not in control, and the other people in the situation are not in control. God is. He has allowed a fearful situation to develop because He determined He can be glorified in it, and we can grow because of it. One way of looking at it is that fear is an indicator that God is ready to do some next-level training with us.
LORD – This is how English Bibles render the covenant name of God, YHWH. It invokes all the promises God made to His people and His gracious fulfillment of those promises. Through Jesus, we have an amazing intimate relationship with God, and He has made us some stunning promises. He will keep every one of them.
God is with you – God is not a detached coach or judge, ordering up tests and challenges for us, then watching and grading our performance. He is with us. Jesus went with Jairus into the room where his daughter lay. Jesus was on the boat when the storm hit. He is no less present with us.
- He is in control.
- He will keep His promises.
- He is with us.