Focal Passages: Joshua 1:1-11, 16-18
In Joshua 1, after God tells Joshua “be strong and
courageous” twice (v. 6, 9), he later hears the same phrase from the officers
of the people in v. 18. As we serve the Lord we often are confronted by the
repetitious working of the Spirit. What makes repetition so effective is, well,
its repetition. We usually hear the first time something occurs, but we
actually listen the second time. When we are confronted with something a second
time, it is at that moment we realize the importance of what is before us.
The first time I rode a roller coaster I believe I
completely lost my cool; the way I screamed would have demanded my “man card”
be taken from me. It was a rush, and it was scary — yet after it was over I ran
back and got in line again! The ride was exactly the same the second time; same
track, same seats, everything identical except one: I had experienced it before
and I was back for more.
The main difference between the first and second ride for me
was that I was excited about what was coming the second time. I lived through
the first ride and now the coaster was starting its circuit again. I knew the
curves and the hills would be fast, loud and scary. I knew I would most likely
be giving up another “man card.”
Yet I had forgotten the trepidation and fear; instead I
remembered the adrenaline and thrill. My heart was beating just as fast this
second ride as it did on the first, but now I knew the ride was safe and
survivable and that I would have a great experience.
It’s no different in our relationship with the Lord. Our
first experience with Him is preparation for what He has next. We will scream,
cry, laugh and doubt all the way through our experiences as we live with the
Lord. Yet, He will turn around and use those events to ready us for the next
one and the following one.
Life is not about the journey for the journey’s sake. Life
is about our destination; the “journey” is our preparation engineered by the
Lord Himself. Our destination is the open, welcoming arms of Christ who is
waiting for us to live forever with Him in Heaven. Those outstretched arms, which will welcome
us, are the same arms that opened wide on the Cross where He died for us. Those
same arms carried our sin, carry us now, and will welcome us for all eternity.
The strength and courage we need to overcome our fears is
not our own. It is His.
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