Be Strong and Take Courage
Life has never been more difficult than it is right now. Do you feel that way? As you read that opening sentence, did your mind flash through the current circumstances before you? I can imagine some of you would say, “Yes.” With everything that has happened, every trial you have endured, do you have the strength to make it through this “perfect storm” of problems?
You never dreamed things would turn out so badly. Every challenge you have previously faced has been resolved, but this one appears to be unwinnable. People who vowed their support have abandoned you and perhaps some have defected to the chorus of critics. Every choice you have made to resolve things in a positive way has only created a deeper dilemma. You just can’t fix this. If you were offered a hole to crawl into until the storm passes by, you’d gladly take it.
While reading the journey of the disciples, I am sometimes tempted to fixate on how they sometimes missed the true instructions Christ gave them. Looking back from my vantage point, it is clear that He was preparing them for what was to happen when He faced arrest and execution. When He was raised again, addressing that unbelief straight on, He said, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen, and have yet believed” (John 20:29 MEV).
What if we had been eyewitnesses to the miracles of Christ? What if you or I would have been standing there when the mud cleared off the eyes of a former blind man or when a violent recluse is given back the reigns to his own body and demons are banished? Wouldn’t that inspire life-long devotion and remove any shred of doubt or anxiety about the future? Wouldn’t we know without a doubt that we are on the winning side?
When Jesus said, “Blessed are those who have not seen,” we insert ourselves into the story. “He’s talking about us,” we think, because you and I did not have the opportunity to touch His scars and see Him face to face. But we have seen miracles and we’ve seen His track record.
We have seen Him work. We’ve seen God work time and again in our lives and those of our loved ones. He’s picked us up from some mighty low places and has never forsaken us. He speaks a word of encouragement at just the right time and works everything out more perfectly that we ever could. What makes us think He is going to leave us now? His promises are flawless and they’re even written on paper, so they’re binding. “All things work together for good for them that love the Lord” (Romans 8:28).
Moses told the children of Israel what God had told him. And we need to hear it, too. “Be strong and of a good courage. Fear not, nor be afraid of them, for the Lord your God, it is He who goes with you. He will not fail you, nor forsake you” (Joshua 31:6 MEV).
I want to encourage you. It is not an easy time. You have never faced what you are facing now. But God is not surprised. He’s not been taken off guard. He is well aware of the circumstances. And He is with you every step of the way. One day, maybe sooner or perhaps later, you will look back and see where the hand of God was, even in the middle of your deepest valleys. I am confident of that.