9 Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” — Joshua 1:9
Courage in the Midst of Fear
by J. Rodney Taylor, Ed.D.
FEAR! It’s one of our basic instincts. I remember the first time my flight instructor and I took to the skies. I had completed all of my ground instruction, I knew the principles of flight, I had practiced in a simulated cockpit and I felt confident I could do it. But once airborne, when my instructor looked at me and said, “it’s yours,” I was scared beyond description. I was fearful that a sudden move would cause me to plummet to the ground or that any wrong movement of the stick would turn me upside down. Still petrified, I hesitatingly took the stick, put my feet on the pedals, and began to fly the plane for the first time on my own.
Have you ever experienced fear? Now, I’m sure that question is unnecessary—because we all experience fear in one form or another. Whether it is fear of falling while crossing a rope bridge, fear of dying from a serious illness or accident, fear of losing someone close to you, or fear regarding the world situation, fear is pervasive.
Fear is actually an expression of our instinctive fight-or-flight response. The release of adrenaline heightens our ability to react. But while fear can be debilitating and can often run us off the rails, it doesn't have to be this way.
We are assured in today’s passage that we have a safety net. We need not fear anything, for our God will provide the encouragement we need to traverse any life experience. This promise does not mean that we will avoid pain (physical or emotional), but it does mean that God will provide a way to dispel the fear. God does not wish us to be fearful of anything. He has consistently assured us throughout His Word that He is with us in every circumstance and that He will undergird us with His strength and power. We are never flying solo.
In our passage for today, Moses has died, and the people are fearful that their inheritance will be lost because their leader is gone. Joshua appears before them and offers encouragement, reminding them that God has always been their companion in all conditions and that He would continue to be with them wherever they might go.
In his first inaugural address on March 3, 1933, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt spoke these words: “Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear...is fear itself.” These words seemingly jump off the page as we read the words of Joshua. They are as relevant for us in the 21st century as they were for the Israelites of Joshua’s time. Let us continue in the confidence of the words of Deuteronomy 31:6, “He will not leave you or forsake you.”
- As you face life in general, be assured that God is always there. Take time today to bow in prayer, thanking God for His merciful companionship.
- Take time each morning to look in the mirror and repeat these words: “Today, I know my Father is watching over me. I will go forth in the confidence that He will see me through every moment.”
- Before retiring tonight, thank God for giving you courage throughout the day to face the obstacles life has thrown your way.
- Sleep with the assurance of God’s words in today’s passage: “Do not be afraid or discouraged.” Arise to a new day determined to live a life pleasing to God and to share it with the world through your testimony.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible® and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.