I’m sure you’re like me, dealing with some very tough, never-did-you-think decisions and feelings lately. I realize we all live in tumultuous times wondering what the future holds.
I’m preparing to make a tricky decision for my daughter’s next school year. I am wondering what my calling will look like this fall, and I’m praying for a friend to get a job after a layoff. I have loved ones dealing with depression. I know friends living in cities that are locked down or are burning with protest. I’m concerned for families with compromised immune systems, and for my own family not to get the virus. I have friends who experience racism because of the color of their skin, who are afraid for their children in ways I can’t imagine. I can quickly be overwhelmed by the news and the upcoming election. Sometimes I feel anxious about doing normal activities like going to the grocery store and gathering with friends I miss.
I sense the Holy Spirit reminding me that worry and fear are nothing new. But in these trying times while living everyday life, I must make a choice — I must choose to live courageously.
Doing so can be difficult, and it won’t always come naturally or look the same for everyone. But as Joshua 1:9 says, we must each decide to be strong and courageous because the Lord is with us wherever we go.
Being courageous means to choose it, to live it on purpose, to want it more than what we feel or think. But it’s impossible to be brave without God. Just like forgiving others is first a choice, we must decide to trust God to make us courageous. Then, our feelings and our actions will sync up at some point with that commitment.
Courage is defined as “strength in the midst of pain or grief.” It is needed in small tasks others may never see, or in doing the next thing we are called to do that might be big and visible to many. When life gets frustrating because it’s not what we expected, when we are hit with one thing after another, when we don’t know if we have enough wisdom or strength to make the right decisions for today, much less plan effectively for tomorrow, we need to choose to be courageous.
God doesn’t tell us to be strong and courageous today to make tomorrow easier. He tells us to do so because He knows we will need it in our lives. But courage doesn’t come from mustering up something inside of us; it comes from His promise to be with us wherever we go, whatever comes our way, no matter how we feel or what others might do.
When God shared those words with Joshua for the first time, it was the beginning of a new normal too. There was a change in leadership and a new generation rising up to follow God. They faced a very real enemy and were on the verge of seeing God come through on His long awaited promises.
God instructed Joshua to have courage, not just for himself but also for those he was leading. Similarly, God empowers others in the Bible to be strong and courageous so they can lead well too:
Deborah led her people as a judge while her top military official wasn’t brave enough to do anything without her. She was confident God would protect her and give her courage so others could fight the enemy alongside her.
Esther didn’t have all the answers she needed and felt powerless in her position as queen. But with God’s courage, Esther became willing to risk her life to spare her people.
Hannah was barren, but she was brave enough to ask for what her heart really longed for. And when she received her son Samuel, she was courageously willing to offer him back to God.
Ruth was widowed and without a homeland to go back to. But she chose to be brave and follow her mother-in-law to a new land and start over. She trusted God would provide blessing and favor beyond what she could have hoped for.
Mary was young, but she had faith that God could do the impossible. Because of her courageous faith, she birthed the Messiah of the world.
All of these biblical examples are people like you and me who chose to have courage in both the big and small moments. They lived with the expectation that God would come through, and their courage impacted generations after them.
Being courageous is an act of faith. When we choose to believe and trust in God, He makes us courageous as we obey His Word.
So, let’s trust God with our strange today and our unknown tomorrows. Let’s choose to be courageous and be expectant that God will keep His promises in the big and small moments. Let’s remember we can do anything, even when we don’t feel like it or see a way through, because God is always with us.Leave a Comment
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
So true that God doesn’t give us the courage to obey His word, He gives us courage AS we obey His word. Obedience comes first. In these times, obedience looks a lot like tursting God with all my heart and NOT leaning on my own understanding. I don’t know exactly what God is up to, but I do know this. God is good. God is love, and God is faithful. All the rest I need to trust to His sovereignty. Joining with you in trusting God with today and tomorrow. As we persevere, God builds our character. Building of our character gives us hope and hope never disappoints. Awesome post!
Dawn Ferguson-Little says
But why do people be so cruel. Like your friend going through what she is going through because of her skin color. People should look at people for who they are from their hearts not their skin color. I had a beautiful Christian Friend a lot older than me. Who is now in Glory. Who always said to to me when alive. Theses words and they are so true today they still ring in my heart. Bidden or not Bidden God is watching. If people like that do things like that too your lovely Friend. Unless they repent and get saved. They will be sorry when they leave this earth one day as like my friend said when alive Bidden or no Bidden God sees all God will deal with them then. If not on earth. As it not nice. I remember a song I was taught at Sunday School. It is so true we even as Adults are to do as it says. It is “Jesus Loves All The Children Of The World Red And Yellow Black And White.” We are to do the same. You get the song on YouTube. It is Children song. But we are his Children God’s. Even as Adults. We have to in all things even in things like this when we don’t feel brave or have the courage to also forgive people like this. Pray for them. I know it not easy but Jesus would want us to do that. Plus it say in his word to do that. Or it only keeps eating us up. Plus as Mums we have to be strong and Pray for our kids. I don’t have kids but I do this for my Niece’s and Nephews Leave them in the hands of Jesus and know in the new school year he is protecting them. That he will let nothing happen to them. That he hears as Mums your Prayers for your kids. Plus your Prayers for your friend with Depression. I know people with Depression and different skin colors. With the Depression we can not judge what they are going through. Especially if they are saved. We can’t say to them were is your faith in Jesus. All we can do is be a friend like Jesus would be to them. When they need us. Pray for them leave them with Jesus. Be there for them when they need us. Know that Jesus hear them and our Prayers for them. Give them Courage and let them know we care. Love today’s reading. Love you all in incourage. Love Dawn Ferguson-Little xx
Thank you for these words I really needed to hear from God. I feel him speak in your words. Never stop sharing!
Asking God to protect us all and give us courage in these crazy times.
Judy M Wagner says
Thank you for this message. Everyone has their own story these days for what they are going through but we must remember that whatever it is God is there to guide us through. My father passed away on Aug. 2 (not Covid 19 related) after being on Hospice since mid May and then his youngest sister died 2 days later after having a stroke the week before. I am an only child and my mother died 40 years ago. While I have a lot of extended family nearby, they have their own difficult times to go through now too. We are all here for each other and are depending on God’s grace and help to get through these difficult days. I find myself overwhelmed as to what my next step is. My dad had a will and prepaid funeral plans but then what to do next. Met with lawyer, one bank, courthouse, searching for important papers, called insurance company, waiting on forms in the mail, more calls. How and when to close accounts and get the house ready to sell. And what papers do I keep and what to shred! So much to do! Then cleaning out drawers and closets— what to do with stuff: give to family, charity, keep for myself, throw out. It is overwhelming to think of it all at once. So I am leaning on God, like all the women in the Bible, to take it one thing at a time and depend on God for courage.
Beth Williams says
Sweet sister praying for you today. May God guide your steps & give you the peace & comfort you desperately need now. Asking God to help you with all decisions. It can be overwhelming. I was blessed to have an older sister who helped me through this. Mom had died 8 years earlier. It can be so overwhelming as to what you do with it all. Take your time. One day/minute at a time. Don’t rush any decisions. Seek wise counsel. Praying you through this time as you deal with all this.
Thank you for posting this. I am also in a time and position in life where summoning up courage is so hard as I see things around me go the opposite of what I am praying for. This was so encouraging that I am seeking renewed hope and knowing that God is still sustaining me and blessing me. I continue to pray that minute by minute He leads and guides my every step.
Thank you for this, Stephanie! I am retired, so I don’t face a lot of the challenges young people have today. But I have children and grandchildren who face these challenges and I am fearful for them! Thank you for your encouragement. I can be brave for them because I have a great and powerful and loving God on my side.
judi abbey says
Thank you for this, I am studing this right now with a minister every Sunday on television. His study on being “Courageous” during this difficult time is so helpful to me right now and the study in Joshua is wonderful. I cannot attend my own church service in person, only online and of course it is not the same. I have an autoimmune dissease and I am 75 years old and those two things together keep me from being able to attend. The older population of the church are not allowed to attend due to covid and I feel very cheated and for the first time through all of this I am angry that I cannot attend my own family church and feel dis-connected from my whole church. Their is so much turmoil in our world and I know their is more to come because the Bible tells us this is so and getting through this for Christians is going to be tougher than we expected, after all our world has not known the type of danger in the streets we see going on right now. Like I said I am 75 years old and I have never seen this, only on television in other countries where people are fighting to get freedom. Sadly we see anarchist in our streets wanting to take our freedom and I fear for my grandchildren and greatgrandchildren. So I love the lessons in Joshua and courage and relying on God because that is the only thing I can do and hope I can one day soon join my church family. Again, thank you for this wonderful devotion.
Thank you Stephanie (from another Stephanie…) I wrote several months ago having difficulty with my 3 year old small group. Every week I would go home so upset and irritated. My husband kept telling me “they may not have changed 1 bit in our eyes in 3 years, but God is using these people to change you.” I believe I might have said “whatever” more than once. Thankfully, the small group ended up disbanding during Covid. YAY!
Seasons changed… to the present. Four weeks ago my parents moved in with us after my brother left them on their own, high and dry. Dad is 91 and sharp and mom is 86 with some dementia. It is not courage that had us do this; it just was the right thing to do for me and my husband, Jerry. I do NOT feel courageous but I also do NOT feel equipped in any way, shape or form to go through what we will go through in our near future. I am not afraid; I have not thought deeply enough about it to be afraid, I guess. If I did, I might run away from home. It HAS taken courage for us to stay away from our church (where no one seems to wear masks). Because old people die if they get Covid and I don’t want to be responsible for their deaths. It has taken courage for us NOT to go, because I really really want to. It has taken even more courage not to go to church when I hear of people and sometimes pastors say “Say NO to Fear, and just COME TO CHURCH!” I have no fear of Covid. I feel we are just making the best decision with my parents with the information we have today.
I just found out Friday I have the beginnings of glaucoma in one eye. Definitely had fear and no courage for 24 hours. Then I saw my neighbor mowing her lawn, and remembered her husband was in the house with the last stages of ALS. Boo hoo, poor me…
I am sure I will need courage all along the way for these things and other things that will come my way. I just seem to be barreling through each day without giving too much thought to how I am feeling about it all. I have been too overwhelmed to pray much (mostly a running kind of conversation with God during the day). I have been too busy (and actually do not want to yet) to sit down and really think about what is going on; I hate to cry and that would probably happen. My husband keeps telling me “we made it through another day” and we started playing video clips of Captain America saying over and over: “I can do this all day.” 🙂 🙂
I know everyone has junk in their lives, and if they don’t now, they will sometime. I wish I had more courage and felt brave enough to face the future. Thank you again. I will bookmark this, as our “big and small moments” present themselves. Stephanie
Karen Knowles says
Excellent word today, Stephanie!
Nancy Ruegg says
Makes perfect sense: Courage comes from faith in God’s promises. Think I’ll start a page in my looseleaf journal titled: “I Can Be Courageous Because…” The first promises on that list will be the ones you listed here. Thank you, Stephanie!
Beth Williams says
These are definitely trying times in more ways than one. The pandemic, civil unrest, election have most on edge. Add to that working in medicine. People are leaving hospitals in droves. Leaving those behind to handle the workload. It is getting to be to much for my hubby. Asking God to deliver him to an outpatient position. I am courageously praying & waiting faithfully for that to happen. I’m choosing to believe that God has ALL our best interests at heart. We must obey His word & trust Him completely. Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans have for you,” declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you & not for harm. To give you a hope & a future.” Obediently waiting on God while obeying His words.
Theresa Boedeker says
Sometimes it is hard to be courageous, but when I look to the bible and see how God was faithful to all those who came before us, how he led them and gave them the strength to do both small and big things, how can I not doubt that he will do the same for me. I used to get tired of reading about Moses leading the Israelites and God interrupting the story to remind them how he brought them out of Egypt and did this and that. That wasn’t God bragging, it was him reminding them that he took care of them in the past and so he would in the future. He was reminding them to be courageous because he was beside them. And when I doubt, I can look back on my life and see his leading me and being there. Giving me courage to keep going.
Mary O'Connor says
Such a beautifully written and powerful, Biblical exhortation. Many thanks…
Zime Mahlaba says
Wow this is exactly what I needed to hear. It’s as if you know the personal struggle that I’m facing currently, where I need to be courageous and push through even when I know the resistance I may face. Knowing that God has promised to be with me gives me the strength to push on!
Thank you for this.
All the way from South Africa ❤️
Ragan H says
Just what my heart needed to be reminded. God is asking me to be strong, even when I feel so weak, but the strength comes from Him, not my own might. Thank you for pointing me to truth & wisdom this morning!
Gillian Mackenzie says
I really just can’t carry on trying to even choose to be courageous. I’ve become absolutely terrified of God, and people commenting here that it’s all just going to get worse makes me want to walk away from being a Christian altogether.
I’m utterly tired of people telling me that our lives are hard because of what Eve did. I’m sick of being referred to Revelation. If this is indeed the end, why must we go through such terror and suffering? Where is the mercy in that?
Stephanie Bryant says
Dear Gillian. I’m sorry life feels overwhelming. But there is no need to fear God, only let Him love you. Let God love all of you – the scared parts, the doubtful parts and the sinful parts in your life that seems very unlovable. He loves all of you and will give you the peace you are looking for. Only WITH God can you choose courage when life feels too much. I’m glad you want to have hope instead of a doomsday attitude. Me, too! And my relationship Jesus and His love in my life enables me to have hope for the future and peace during trials. I pray you can experience that, too. Big HUGS!!!