Be Courageous

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“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 NASB

Moses’ death surprised everyone. Though old, his death was unexpected, according to Deuteronomy 34:7. Word spread through the camp with forest-fire speed. His likely successor was Joshua since he had been Moses’ assistant. Moses had “laid hands” on him, and God gave him the gift of wisdom.

After thirty days of mourning, a heavenly voice spoke to Joshua. Though aware God had spoken to Moses, what a shock it must have been to hear a divine voice. The Creator had chosen Joshua as the new leader of Israel.

With hardly time to grasp it, God gave him an enormous task. He was to lead the Israelites across the Jordan river into the promised land. For forty years, Joshua had followed the instructions of Moses, but now he was the leader.

It seemed God knew Joshua was unsure of himself. He repeated three times, “Be strong and courageous,” God told him to just follow His law, and everything would be all right. He went further and instructed Joshua to “meditate on it day and night… so you may have success.”

My father died at ninety years old. It shocked me because I thought he would live past one hundred. Still sharp of mind and capable of driving, he cared for my dementia-impaired mother.

The last time I visited Dad, I suggested he get help with Mom, but he refused. Six months later, Dad collapsed and died. My oldest surviving brother and his wife, who lived close, took care of the essentials until others arrived.

After the funeral, we siblings discussed our mother’s care. All things considered, we moved Mom to Florida with me and my wife. Caring for Mom became my primary task.
This may resemble your story, or was it more gradual? Maybe, you stepped in once independent living was no longer a choice. But, whatever the reason, we are now in charge.

It’s hard enough to be a full-time caregiver, but it’s worse when family problems cause legal issues. Family differences may turn siblings against each other. I’ve seen matters divide families until a judge must resolve the dispute.

No matter how difficult our circumstances, we have a helper. The encouragement God gave Joshua is for us, too. Let’s gaze upward for strength and courage.

When we waiver, let’s draw our bravery from His Word. We can read the scriptures and meditate on its message. Then it’s time to pray and listen for the Spirit to guide us. God will give us fortitude for the moment. The famous actor, but the not-so-great theologian, John Wayne, said it this way, “Courage is being scared to death and saddling up, anyway.”

Giddy up, God is with us!

(©) Copyright 2018 Ronald Milburn