I have always loved this song by Zach Williams, but I have never had much reason to relate to it. My life has always been fairly simple and safe, and I don’t ever feel much fear on a regular basis. This is something I am thankful for, but I think it can cause me to rely on myself instead of relying daily on the Lord. This is a problem because I need the Lord, every day, ever hour, every minute, every second.
I remember praying one night that God would call me into a deeper reliance on him, and I feel as if he has answered this prayer in calling my family to France. I am beyond excited to be in this beautiful country. When we lived here my fourth grade year, I had the time of my life experiencing such an amazing culture, and I feel so blessed to be here again. When we came here the first time, I simply followed my parents. I did what they did and met who they met. I felt safe and I had very few reasons to fear. Even though I know the country and culture better this time around, there are a few more unknowns.
I have some different feelings and circumstances this time around. First and foremost, I won’t go to school. I am an adult, so that gives me a lot of freedom. I can even drive here, so I can do everything that I wish to do. While this sounds great, it scares me that I won’t have a set schedule. I know that I will go to seminary with Dad once a week, and I know that I will go to church. Other than that, how I spend my time is up to me, and that scares me. On the way here, while most of the plane passengers were sleeping, lots of doubts that I did not expect to feel crossed my mind. What if I completely forget how to speak French? What if I don’t know what to do most days and feel useless? What if, at the end of this year, I have not accomplished anything for God’s glory?
Right away, I knew this fear was not at all from the Lord. I opened my Bible and remembered a passage that Dad had shared with us that morning before we drove to the airport. It is Joshua 1:5-9.
“No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 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.”
God made a promise to Joshua during a very scary time of his life. Moses had just died and Joshua had the responsibility of leading the Israelites to the Promised Land. He had so many reasons to be terrified, but what does God repeatedly tell him to do? “Be strong and courageous.” This is not something God expected Joshua to do on his own. On his own, he was a weak, terrified human being. He could only be strong and courageous because the Lord gave him strength.
I felt like God spoke directly to me through this passage. I am a sinful human being who has every reason to be scared when I try to do things on my own. I should be scared if I am relying on myself because I know I will fail time and time again. However, God tells me to rely on him. God tells me to let him take care of it. God tells me to simply obey and promises he will do great things. I don’t have to worry that I won’t be able to speak French or that I don’t have a set schedule or that I won’t accomplish anything for God’s glory. That is for God to take care of. I simply have to listen to his voice daily.
So, I will be strong and courageous, but this is most certainly not a strength and courage that I will muster up on my own. This is a strength and courage that only the Lord can give. Instead of fearing, I will be thankful for the uncertainty that this year brings because it only pushes me to further rely on the Lord. When fear starts to creep into my mind, I will seek the Lord through prayer and through his word. I will remember that I am so weak, He is incredibly strong, and fear is most definitely a liar.