“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.””
Joshua 1:9 NKJV
What a year…
Today is the anniversary of the beginning of the worldwide pandemic. Looking back at this past year has been difficult, as I am reminded of all the loss: families who lost loved ones, of all the doctors and nurses who gave their lives to save others. I think of all the essential workers, many who have died, who made it to work each day for low wages and no benefits, like the lady who delivered my groceries yesterday. Seems to me that fifteen dollars and hour is the least that we can do.
I remember the fear of many, some fearing this unknown virus that shut down the world, and others fearing economic loss and growing governmental control. There were all the conspiracies, all the videos shoved in in my messenger app and all the times I deleted them.
There were so many things that happened that could easily have shaken my soul, but none of these caught my God by surprise.
I entered the book of Joshua today, and read one of my favorite verses. this verse and I have gone through many things, from the morning I woke up in a hospital bed at the Mayo Clinic, to the many days of the pandemic, still raging. The verse is a strong reminder of God’s presence in my struggles, and an encouragement of me to be strong and courageous.
I am sure that Joshua watched Moses through his ministry and saw all that he had to go through. Now it was his turn to lead this stiff-necked people into the promised land. We who are believers in this New Testament era are in the same kind of place as we have read of what life was like for the first century church, and know now of what they had to endure.
Many of us are becoming concerned, and some afraid as we are seeing some of the same things coming at us, as our world seems is becoming more hostile and going down a perilous path. We must remember what we have been through. This past year has been a wonderful reminder of God’s sovereignty.
As I went through this year, I found that I drew closer to the Lord than I have ever, as I clung to the One I knew was true, who held my very life in His hand. Each morning I embraced His word, each morning I prayed for many, each morning I filled the air of my home with worship music, and each morning I saw my strength renewed.
“But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.”
Isaiah 40:31 NKJV
In the midst of quarantine, I waited on the Lord and found great strength. I have been blessed with many moments when God has seen fit to pull me off the road, and force me into a time of reflection. Each time has resulted in profound growth and greater understanding of the Lord. Each time, I have seen my burden for the lost increased. He has built me up for His use. He has also given me thorns in the flesh, that I not be puffed up.
“And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
II Corinthians 12:7-9 NKJV
God opened a door to evangelism this past year, as He reminded the world of mortality, of the reality of death. I have heard of many of my fellow believers who have had opportunities to have spiritual conversations. God opened the door for the spreading of the Gospel. Online services brought the church out of buildings and on to the public square called the internet.
Brothers and sisters, we know that this past year was but prepraration for what is to come. Let us be mindful and deliberate in the conduct of our lives as we go forth. Let us also take time to reflect with sadness of this past year, mourning those who have died and gone to hell, having not known salvation in Jesus. That alone should motivate us to go and proclaim Jesus to the world.
THE PRAYER CHAIR IS OPEN! Send me your requests!
Below you will find some links to some of many writings from the beginning of this odyssey.