A Difficult Season

Dear Friends,

Some people may see a season of change as a frightening challenge whilst others see it as a challenging adventure. Are you facing a new season right now?  Perhaps your son or daughter has left for university and you are facing "empty nest syndrome", or you're learning how to parent a newborn baby (or house training a new puppy in my case!), or coping with health issues, a change in your employment, a new stage in your education, or changes at church etc.


In the Bible, Joshua faced a new season when God called him to step up from being Moses' assistant to become the leader of God's people.  A huge task lay before him and he had some big sandals to fill!


Going into a new season can be scary.  We can assume Joshua was fearful because God says to him: "This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”  Joshua 1:9 (NLT)


Joshua may have been afraid of the responsibility.  Perhaps he was afraid the people wouldn't follow him.  He knew exactly what they were like, the way they criticised and complained.  He knew they wouldn't hesitate to point out when he was wrong.  Maybe he was afraid of failure, perhaps he questioned whether he was really up to the role or whether it was just too soon.  Perhaps he was afraid of the unknown.  Of moving out of his comfort zone and leaving the familiar behind.


We may feel assaulted by all kinds of fears as we face our new season.  Fears of the unknown, fears of failing, of having to move out of our comfort zone, of it all being too much for us, etc. But we need to remember that what God told Joshua is true for us too - God's presence is with us, wherever we are, whatever we go through, whatever happens in our life.  God is with us and he loves us.  He will give us the strength we need as we go through a new season in our life. God's presence with us means that he gives us his peace and his comfort.  He is also a place of refuge and our protector. 


Not only was Joshua afraid, he was also discouraged: grieving the loss of his mentor and friend; perhaps he felt alone; or thought his relationship with God wasn't as close as the one Moses had with God;or perhaps he had heard negativity, doubts, murmurings and nit-picking amongst the people.  Any number of things could have led to feelings of discouragement.


Thoughts of fear and discouragement could have become a stronghold in his mind.  If they had, then he would not have been able to move forward into his new season and he would not have been able to lead God's people forward either. 


Perhaps you too are feeling discouraged right now.  Maybe you're questioning God as to why this is happening.  Maybe you can't see a way through it.  Or you feel like you're very much on your own and there's no-one you can share with.  


When we dwell on our fears and discouragement, when we allow our minds to go in that direction and allow these thoughts to go round and round in our head, they can quickly become strongholds. They can paralyse us, making us unable to move forward.


Instead of being consumed with fear and discouraging thinking, Joshua chose to listen to God. He heard and believed the promises God gave him.


God promised Joshua that he would overcome: "No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. For I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you." Joshua 1:5 (NLT).  Yes, he would face battles, but with God's help he would overcome. God promised that he was trustworthy and dependable.  That Joshua could count on him, he could rely on him.


God promised to fulfill his plans for Joshua:  "Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them." Joshua 1:6 (NLT)  God would make a way through for Joshua. God has a plan and a purpose for your life and for mine, just as he had for Joshua. If we trust and obey God we will see him working out those plans. 


In verses 6-9, God told Joshua to be strong and courageous no less than three times.  God was reminding Joshua that he was capable for the task, not because of who Joshua was, but because of who God is.  God would enable, equip and empower Joshua through this difficult season.  Joshua really needed to hear this from God.


I am so glad that God does repeat himself. I don't know about you, but sometimes I need God to do just that and remind me of the things he has said to me because I can so easily fall back into thinking fearful or discouraging thoughts.


As we go through a new season we need the right mindset, we can have this if we do what God tells Joshua in 1:8 "Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it." (NLT)


We are to:

  • Study God's Word - this means reading the Bible, taking the time to take it in, reading it carefully, asking God to help us understand what we are reading.  Listening to what God has to say rather than listening to our own fearful and discouraging thoughts.
  • Meditate on God's Word - rather than allowing our fears and other negative thoughts to fill our minds, choose to think on God's truth from the Bible, such as his promises and his truth.  Focus on God rather than our circumstances.
  • Speak out God's Word - another version of the Bible tells us not to let these words depart from our mouth. We're not just to think about God's Word, we're also to speak it out.  "Joshua then commanded the officers of Israel, 'Go through the camp and tell the people to get their provisions ready. In three days you will cross the Jordan River and take possession of the land the Lord your God is giving you.'"  1:10-11 (NLT)  Joshua spoke out what he heard from God.
  • Obey God's Word - Joshua acted on what God told him to do.  Despite our fears and concerns, we need to act on and obey what God is telling us.
To Think About:
Read Joshua 1:1-11.  There is far more in those verses than I've had time to share today. What do you think God wants to say to you?

What season are you in?  How are you feeling?  What thoughts keep running through your mind? What has been helpful from today's blog post? 

Memorise Joshua 1:9 as one way of keeping a right mindset.

Vicki




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