I can get overwhelmed pretty easily. It seriously does not take much. Busy seasons of my life just scare the pants off me! It is not that I do not think that God cannot help me. It is just how I let the busyness impact me. I can become grumpy, begin to lack faith, and just be a general not so nice person to be around.
Which is so odd because my main strengths are all centered around building relationships (which includes a strong swath of positivity!)
So it is very clear to me in my soul that when busy seasons come, I know that I have a choice to make. It is my choice to either let the busyness overwhelm me or do something else. Now it may not be busyness with you. It may be something else that is just overwhelming such as a new ministry you are joining in on – maybe Jesus is calling you out of the safety of the boat and onto the water as He did with Peter. That is both overwhelming and scary! Whatever the overwhelming element, what follows completely applies…
We have a choice…
I know right?! Way too simple. Last week I talked about making a choice to just breathe, to take a step away and make the conscious choice to allow God to just saturate my soul with His presence and let my soul breathe. To just breathe requires choice.
So today…I’m going to just choose! Hang with me here!
I have so many favorite verses. And this is one of them. I would suggest that you choose to make it one of yours as well (Ha! See what I did there!…Choose!) The context of the verse is the transition of leadership, from Moses to Joshua. Joshua has big shoes to fill. I mean, this is Moses we are talking about! He’s taking Moses’ place as Israel’s leader.
So God has a pep talk with Joshua. Ok, that might be putting it lightly, but God is pouring into Joshua in these verses. He is encouraging him, building him up, and letting him know that God is still God! It’s almost as if God is saying “You’ve got this!” Check it out!
I’ve commanded you to be brave and strong, haven’t I? Don’t be alarmed or terrified, because the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.
There is so much here to unpack! But I want to focus on one thing…choice. Do you see how much of this verse is dependent upon us just choosing?
God is telling the next leader of the Israelites, “Hey! You’ve got this! You can do it! I am with you! I have told you that you CAN be brave. You CAN be strong. So don’t be overwhelmed by what is in front of you! I am going with you!”
But you’ve got to just choose it!
Be strong is a very interesting phrase in the Hebrew. The whole word group carries the idea of becoming strong (or brave or courageous). It does not mean one is instantly and completely strong. It indicates more of a learning to be strong and courageous as God teaches and helps us realize it. Do you see just how much choice is involved here. It all really comes down to how we respond to God. It means that we don’t have to have it all together!
Boy isn’t that just a little pressure off! I definitely don’t have it all together! And you know what? Neither did Moses. And that’s not God’s expectation.
What He does expect is for us to follow what He commands – to respond obediently
And that falls to choice…how we respond to Him – no matter how much we feel overwhelmed. Joshua has to make a choice to believe. He has to come to place within himself that he believes that if God has commanded him to become strong, to become brave and confident, God will be faithful to it! God will honor it! Joshua has to choose to be confident in God because God is competently trustworthy!
You know, one of my previous vehicles was great until it wasn’t. I drove it around with a warning light on the dash for months on end without getting it checked out by a mechanic. It was trying to warn me that there was a problem – that I needed to make the choice to drive the vehicle to a mechanic and let him diagnose the problem.
I didn’t do that. And I paid dearly for it with a ruined engine.
Each of us has a similar warning system built into us. No we don’t have red flashing check engine lights…but there are other warning signs that we are overwhelmed and in need of making some different choices. (Ie. Go to the Mechanic!)
I am realizing that it is a good warning indicator to me that I am operating out of my own resources and not God’s when I become so overwhelmed that my mood changes, that how I treat people changes, and that my whole demeanor shifts from the positive happy guy that I normally am to the royal butthead (yea I just said that!) I will become if I continue to make the wrong choice! I have to choose to believe what God has commanded I do He will also equip me to be brave and strong and courageous…that I don’t have to be alarmed or terrified or have it all together because I choose to remember that God is with me wherever I go and whatever He has me doing. He is in the process of making me more into who He wants me to be.
One other note if significance in this passage. It is intensely personal. It is a communication directly from God to us. The “you” in the verse is deeply personal and singular. It is there for you – a personal message from God to just you. This is both humbling and refreshing to me that the God of the universe is so deeply interested in in me that He makes this personal plea to be brave and strong and courages…to not be terrified or alarmed…that He is absolutely with me…All I have to do is…