I remember as a little girl being afraid of the dark. We lived in a small house that had a long dark hallway leading to the bedrooms. I don’t remember the colors of the walls or the furniture. However, I do remember feeling as if that hallway would lead to my demise. The big bad monster of the dark would capture me and I would never see my family again. To help ease my mind I would wait for my mom, sister or dad to go down the hall first. My thought was if they made it, then I could too. But there were nights that I had to venture down the hallway before everyone else. No one was there to assure me things would be ok and the monster of darkness wouldn’t capture me.
In time I overcame my fear of the dark. We moved. And my imaginary monster of darkness disappeared from my mind. However in reflecting on this now funny memory I began to wonder, how often do we require God to go first before we are willing to step out into the dark or the unknown?
Joshua and the Israelites were faced with this very issue as they approached the Promise Land. Before entering, it seemed they would encounter a test of faith as God commanded they cross the Jordan River. Keep in mind there were no bridges or ferries, just water and land on each side. Their destiny was so close, yet so far. I imagine this new generation of Israelites heard of God’s mind-blowing miracle at the Red Sea and how their parents were able to walk across on dry land to escape Pharaoh and the Egyptian army. The difference? God parted the waters of the Red Sea before they had to step out into it! Now, God told Joshua to choose 12 men, one from each tribe, to lead the people into the Jordan. Once they made the first step, he would then stop the river from flowing and it would stand up in a heap (Joshua 3:13).
Their destiny was so close, yet so far.
I don’t know if Joshua was taken aback by this request, but I would have been. I can’t help but think he may have wondered, if only for a split second, He’d taken the first step before, why would God change the process? Why do we have to step into the unknown?
I’m sure we’ve all had that thought. Let’s be honest… we want God to make it easy. Our prayers are often filled with requests like God please go before me or God please remove this mountain. But what if we simply trust God’s process?
We know He can do anything. We know He’s incredible. But sometimes I think we forget He’s all knowing… and contrary to what our feeble minds may think, everything He does and requests of us is for a purpose.
So how can we trust God when he calls us into the darkness?
Fear is defined as a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined. It’s important for us to remember that fear is an emotion. It is often strategically used by the devil to misguide us and ultimately take us off our God-designed paths. Think about it. If the Israelites would have said, God, you are crazy if you think we’re going to step out first, they wouldn’t have gone into the Promise Land, which is what the devil was hoping would happen. And if we use our imagination a bit we can think of all the necessary events of our salvation that may not have happened after that. Ruth wouldn’t have married Boaz, Jesse wouldn’t have been David’s father, David wouldn’t have had Solomon and fast forward a few years, Mary wouldn’t have had Jesus, our great Savior and Redeemer. See how strategic the devil is? This applies to your life as well. If you give into fear today, imagine how many people will be impacted. Imagine how many people may not be impacted by your testimony.
[Fear] is often strategically used by the devil to misguide us
and ultimately take us off our God-designed paths.
It’s important to remind ourselves that God has given us authority over our emotions. The Bible says in 2 Timothy 1:7, For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. He has called us to be brave and courageous. Joshua 1:9 says, Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Rest in that today.
One of the first things I realized in my adult Christian walk was that other people are depending on our obedience. But what is obedience? Obedience is defined as compliance with an order, request, or law or submission to another’s authority. Let’s just focus on “submission to another’s authority.” When we submit ourselves to God things begin to happen. In fact amazing things begin to happen. It’s no secret that resisting flesh isn’t easy. But James 4:7 says, Submit yourselves therefore to the God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. That’s good reliable news.
Remember the Goodness of God
Just like with Moses, God promised Joshua that He would be with him. Joshua 1:5 says, As I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee nor forsake thee. This promise is true for you as well. If God says it, it is true. Philippians 4:13 says, And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. That verse doesn’t just apply to material things. It means if you are fearful, He will give you courage. If you are struggling with sin, He will give you a way out. If you are lonely, He will comfort you. Whatever your need is, He will supply because He loves and cares for you.
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
It’s easy for us to allow fear to invade our thoughts or question God’s plan. But the truth is we have to stop leaning on our own understanding. God always has a reason for what He tells us to do. When you are unsure and begin to doubt, rely on Proverbs 3:5-6, Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding; in all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.