No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them… 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 1:5-9)
What keeps you going? What motivates you to do what you are doing? What concerns you most these days? In these last few months of 2020 we are truly living in a time of uncertainty not knowing whether when we will have the vaccine for the pandemic or who will become our next president, even the uncertainty with our churches. When should we reopen church or reclose church? Should I attend church in-person or online…and how about the coming Fall Supper and Christmas? Many things are up in the air and the level of our anxiety is not going to go away anytime soon.
The Israelites, after the death of Moses, were living in a truly uncertain future. Moses was there when God delivered the plagues. He was there when God parted the Red Sea. He spoke to a rock and water came out. God gave him the law for the people to follow. Moses had provided a security for the Israelites and there was little, if anything, for them to worry about. Now that Moses is no longer there for them, would they ever get to enter the promised land, or would they all remain and be finished at the desert of Sinai, as their parents who came from Egypt?
In an uncertain time there are certain things that keep people going… family, friends, work, faith, hope, love, the list goes on. What keeps Joshua going? What keeps him going after Moses’ death was God’s reaffirmation of the promise to Abraham and the promise of God’s constant presence and leading into the future. God said to Joshua, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Today, I trust the same God who said these words to Joshua is saying the same to us. As for Joshua and the Israelites, God is with us and will lead us into the future…and to enter the promised land. Let’s put our fear and future in God’s care and know that God will lead us through this time of uncertainty.
May this devotion provide you with a moment of faithful reflection and care. You are involved in ministries of justice and witness, in ministries of standing up and standing with people working to create better systems and communities, in ministries of learning and searching and researching to become more aware and awakened, more technologically savvy and proficient, more virtually and personally present in your churches and communities and world. Each of us who serve as members of your Wisconsin Cabinet write these devotions in grateful prayer for you – for sustenance and buoyancy, for strength and courage, for safety and just actions, and for faith and love to be full and fulfilled in your daily lives. God’s grace and blessings, God’s challenge and healthy discomfort, God’s Spirit and energy be with you, in the hope Christ offers us all.
District Superintendent, North Central District