Be Strong & Courageous

Jennifer Tolbert

Be strong and courageous and do not be afraid or terrified because of them. For the Lord Your God goes with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you.

I am not really a crier. Not at movies, rarely at weddings (not even at my own), and not when I am mad. 

I don't know why. Maybe I subconsciously know I'll mess up my eye make up. 

However, there are two things that, without fail, open those floodgates. One is the NFL draft. When those big burly football players hug their mommas and thank their coaches, I can't help but get a little misty. 

The second is the song "pomp and circumstance." You know, the graduation song. I don't have to know a single graduate. Actually, it doesn't even have to be playing at a graduation, and by the second or third stanza, I have teared up. 

If the Bible had a soundtrack, this is the song that would have been playing when Moses handed over the leadership of the Israelite people to Joshua in Deuteronomy 31: 1-8. 

Change is hard, ya'll. And lots of complicated and messy feelings tend to tag along. Moses knew that, so did God. So when Moses addressed the people, he said three things to help the Israelite's transition well. 

1. He reminded them of the past. He reminded them of all the other times God showed up!  He hasn't forsaken you yet! He's already protected you from your enemies on this journey and he's not done. 

2. He reminded them to be strong and courageous. 

When I decided to go to Cambodia, I was going to go by myself. I had never left the good ole U.S. of A in my life. I didn't even have a passport. I was terrified. 

But then my mom decided to go with me. She had already made the trip with my dad several times before and the trip suddenly became manageable. And then arriving and having my sister who lived there and knew the language and culture, turned manageable into an adventure. 

I think that's what Moses is saying. You're traveling with a God who isn't going to leave you and more importantly, has already been there. He knows where you're going and what you'll need when you get there. He's an amazing tour guide and this trip is going to be an adventure.  

3. He reminded them of their future. 

A surprise getaway seems so romantic, but the super practical side of me needs to know all the things. I want the itinerary. I want to read reviews of local restaurants and research crime rates. I want to be able to check the weather and overpack appropriately. The exact GPS coordinates would be great. 

Here's the thing. God has told you where you're headed and to travel light. I can't travel spiritually like I travel in real life. It just doesn't work.  

I don't know what changes you're facing right now. I don't know if you have a kid graduating from kindergarten or college. If you're changing job, houses, or cities. Maybe you are just rattled trying to do life in this crazy COVID world.

Be strong and have courage. God keeps his promises and your future is secure. God is going ahead of you and he's also right there in the middle of all of it with you. He's not going anywhere and he won't let you down. Don’t let fear intimidate you and steal your joy.

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