Just Thinking ... Strength and Courage
"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
We are a people who believe in the power of scripture and in its place in our daily lives. We preach from the texts of the ancient prophets, and we share the words of the disciples and apostles of Jesus Christ week after week. We offer instruction in Bible Studies and Small Groups on the meaning of these very old words. Yet, many of us have a disconnect when it comes to applying them to our own lives.
While the world is in a state of fear, while our nation is struggling with uncertainty, and while our Church is discouraged, we wonder what is going to happen and where is our God. These are normal thoughts, but we are not a people, a called group, without a promise or a hope.
Joshua and the people of Israel are headed to that promise land, but it sure looks difficult, it looks frightening, it looks impossible. God reminds them of the vow God made to them that He would be with them where ever they go. The same vow is for you and me, God's called. We have been called to lead the people into a new land, uncharted and unknown, but God will be with us.
Our part of this vow is just as important. We are called, and we are told be strong. We cannot allow the ankle-bitters and the nay-sayers to make us weak or ineffective. We must keep our eyes and heart focused on the will and desire of Jesus Christ for all His people. We must be strong in the face of hate, anger, push-back, and even rejection. God is with us; we need to be with God.
The call pushes us to also be courageous. Be bold, my sisters and brothers, in your leadership. Be bold and try new and fresh things that will help God's will be done on earth as it is in heaven. With the courage of the prophets and apostles before you, speak the Word of God with strength and conviction.
Our United Methodist people are looking for strong and courageous leaders. Yes, even those who try to say otherwise. You, my brothers and sisters, have been called to this ministry, to this church, to this day for such a time as this. As Esther of old, "Be strong and courageous, and do not be afraid."
I understand the struggle, my friends; believe it or not, a District Superintendent faces it as well from both sides. I often fail to be strong or courageous, because I don't trust as I should or because I simply want to be liked instead of having people angry with me. I get why we allow worry, fear, difficulty, anger, and uncertainty to lead, but we are not called to such.
I pray for you daily to have the strength and courage to fulfill your vows to lead the church without fear and doubt. You have been called, so trust in the One who called you to never leave you nor forsake you. With God, we got this...
Or as the Psalmist states, "Those who know your name trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you." - Psalm 9:10
I also trust in you,