Joshua said to them, "Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Be strong and courageous. This is what the LORD will do to all the enemies you are going to fight." (Joshua 10:25)
One of my favorite verses. Joshua is not telling the people what God has done in the past. He is not referring to what God is doing right then. Joshua is looking ahead to the future and what God is going to do. God knows that his people have some tough battles ahead of them. There is going to be a fight. There is a need for strength and courage.
We still have that need today. Our enemies are different than the ones that Joshua and the Israelites faced. Enemies like fear, apathy, and greed are real and they work to tear down our lives. The problems of life - sickness, stress, grief – these also can become real enemies. Days or weeks when it seems that everything is just going wrong can make surrender seem like an excellent idea.
God's word, sent through Joshua, still reaches out across the years - Do not be discouraged! I often yearn for God to just reach down and smooth out the road before me. For God to remove any challenges, roadblocks, or trials that he knows I am going to face.
But instead God promises to give me strength. And he fights for me in ways that I cannot always see and understand. At moments when I am tempted to be discouraged, God is there listening to me - asking me to not give up. And God has given me an army - mighty people who will pray for me and listen to me and just be there for me.
God does not promise us an easy life. Actually, He tells us that there will be trials and temptations. At times, we will be tempted to be discouraged. Life can become a challenge.
I know that some of you have also had a challenging week. But be strong! Keep reaching out to God. Hold on to the people He has placed in your life for support and encouragement. Do not let the enemy get to you. Be strong! Be courageous!