I don’t think anyone has ever said that walking by faith is easy. We like control, and we like to know how it’s going to go. Faith throws all of that out the window. God doesn’t necessarily show us the end, just little glimpses along the way to keep us moving forward. And when we can’t see the big picture, sometimes that next step doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. It’s when our feet are far from walking on the water though, walking by faith seems so simple, so easy. I can lift my hands and sing, “I will follow”. I can get so excited about the thought of walking by faith, but when it’s time for thoughts to become actions my knees begin to buckle with all the “what ifs”. Truth is, walking by faith is not for the faint of heart. And sometimes walking by faith can lead us into troubled waters.
My trouble, his name is fear. And I find that everytime I step out in faith, fear likes to show up, unwelcomed, but there none the less. You see, me and fear go way back, as a child he was my constant companion, and we remained close until about 10 years ago. Even though I broke it off, or I should say God broke it off for me, fear, he still tries to sneak back in. I, again and again, have to refuse to sit in his company. It’s not always easy, and in my own strength I can’t always walk away. In these moments of vulnerability I have to press into God and remember His promises.
Last night I acknowledged that fear was near again. I began confessing to God that I was afraid of the future. I say “confessing” because the places I find fear getting in reveal weak spots in my faith. It shows me where I still need to trust God more. And in my moment of confession and weakness, the the Holy Spirit reminded me of Joshua 1:9.
Joshua was in position, called by God to lead the Israelites and to take them into the promised land. I’m sure Joshua must have felt some fear as he was about to move God’s people into this occupied territory because God told him more than once to be strong and courageous. God actually commanded Joshua to not be afraid. He didn’t suggest it, he commanded it.
Maybe God gave these commands because he knew that Joshua would find courage through his desire and dedication to be obedient… Our desire to please God can help us to not shrink back in fear… Our desire to be obedient can fuel our courage into a flame that consumes every fearful thought holding us captive. Also, when God commanded Joshua to be strong and to not fear, God knew Joshua had no reason to fear. God saw the outcome and it was good. And God also told Joshua that he would be with him; which is more than enough of a reason to get up, push fear out the door, and keep moving forward in faith. The presence of God is a mighty promise of God, and it sustains us in any situation.
Just like Joshua, we can believe God at his word. We don’t have to let fear keep us from moving forward into all that God has for us. And I’m reminded that if fear decides to show up knocking at our door, it is faith that can keep that door closed. We don’t have to entertain thoughts and ideas that leave us devoid of hope and drowning in despair. Instead, we know and rely on the promises of God, knowing his presence is always with us, sustaining us. We can anchor our soul in His truth and not be swayed and carried away. God’s presence leads us from victory to victory, glory to glory, and hope to more hope. Because God is with us, we can keep moving forward, pushing through fear, one faith step at a time, knowing that with each step the Lord is holding us up.
“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 1:9
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?…No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” ~Romans 8:35,37-39
“…And surely I am with you always, to the very end of age.” ~Matthew 28:20