Strong and Courageous

Photo by Arno Smit on Unsplash

The Father’s presence is unmistakable. I believe in coincidence, but I think sometimes we undermine the presence of God activity in it. Music, Scripture, anger, shame, sadness and regret have influenced my thinking and emotions this week. Here is what is on the forefront of my mind now.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1.9

Oh if that verse were with me a plethora of times in the past. I guess I’m regretting the information was not in my memory, but the Father was no doubt there. If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it does it make a sound kind of thing I guess. God himself is omnipresent meaning that He is everywhere all the time. He’s the only entity in our cosmos where that is true. Just because someone says the opposite doesn’t make it not true. I guess it’s kind of like the age old discussion about Anselm’s theology about the existence of God. The very thought proves that He does exist, but how do you reconcile that with those who think He does not exist? Anselm argued the mere argument against His presence proves He is there.

Faith is an interesting aspect that we all practice. Faith is another word for belief, and each one of us believes in something. I don’t type word after word because I’m an atheist or agnostic, but if I were I’d still probably write. The evidence in my experience for a God presence drives me to share Joshua 1.9 with you, and I would not share it if I didn’t believe it. As I wrote earlier my belief in it has wavered because my human memory is fallible, but in light of Anselm’s ontological theory it was still at work even though I could not recall it.

Our LORD and Savior Jesus Christ came to this earth fully man, and I suspect with Max Lucado that he hit his fingers several times with a hammer as he helped Joseph with carpenter work (See Lucado’s God Came Near). We sometimes thing the Godhead doesn’t know what we go through, but nothing could be further from the truth. God is so multi-dimensional that to understand Him we have to study Him as Father, Son and Spirit. He is one God through and through, but because of His presence, power and knowledge there are three distinct aspects to His being. He is warrior, but in the same breath He is also mother who is kind and gentle with her children.

Inward transformation happens as we come to know the presence of God in the midst of outward demands. It’s a life-long privilege to lean into this most wondrous relationship that is available to all human beings. The rub happens when we replace God with things we think will fill the void. That doesn’t make stuff bad, but until we come to know that our relationship with the Father must trump everything else than we are doing to be spinning our wheels. Once again that is a life-long pursuit we must pursue because He does not force us to seek Him. He could, but He doesn’t.

That reminds me of a Mark Lowry monologue. Mark talks about an elementary school teacher he had who liked to dig her nails into the back of his neck when he was “bad.” He contrasted her cold hard nails to another teacher’s soft gentle hands who he responded to. I don’t know what that first teacher suffered earlier in life, but I would imagine she had received similar treatment to the way she treated Mark.

Obviously our God has come down hard on people because we’ve read the Bible, but I think the God of gentleness and kindness is also a God we must remember as we strive for a courageous and fearless life.

Ecclesiastes is an appropriate book to mention at his juncture. It talks about there is a time for everything under the sun. Our men and women in uniform protect us by the hand of God from terrorists. But at this very moment there are also people rocking crack addicted babies in hospitals across the globe.

My God knows what I need before I ask Him. He instructs me as I sleep, and as I wake from slumber He sustains me in my efforts to honor Him. He wants me to be brave, but He also wants me to experience peace. His balancing act I can trust, not as a puppet on a string, but as a son who depends on his Father.

Father in heaven hallowed be your name. Thank you Father for revealing courage and peace to me. Thank you for sustaining your servant Joshua all those many years ago as you gave him strength and energy to do what he did for Israel. Thank you for the strength and energy you give me in this moment to type these words. May they be a blessing to all who read them. In Jesus name amen.



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