So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.
Deuteronomy 31:6 NLT
Have you ever been tempted to run away from life? It can be a seductive thought, appearing to offer instant relief. Why not quit my job, walk out on my relationship or abandon the church? A temporary relief from pressure, with perhaps some moments of euphoria, then quickly gives rise to a whole new set of challenges I’d not anticipated.
Israel experienced this as the euphoric celebration after crossing the Red Sea gave way to the discomforts of the wilderness. As Moses reminded them, their only way forward was to reinvest their trust in God’s long-term strategic plan.
What was true for them is true for me. I have a choice to make, and there is nothing comfortable about it. I can let my fears run their course and become blindsided to the will of God. Or, with some great difficulty, I can look for the inner courage and resolve to trust that God knows precisely what’s going on and has “personally” gone ahead of me.
A promise is an assurance a particular thing will happen, intended to give me confidence. Yet, I’ve nothing in my hand from which to take courage. It is the very reality of faith being put into action, rooted in risk, and I alone can choose whether to take that risk. It’s taking the long-term view, one affirmed in scripture.
But, when it’s me who’s in an emotional turmoil, the degree of difficulty is greatly increased. There’s little encouragement to be drawn from the well-intentioned encouragement of anyone outside my present experience. I’m deafened by the sounds of my own panic. Yet, if I can focus upon God’s promise and find the courage to take one more step in faith, once more I’m lifted from the raging waters that threaten to consume me by the everlasting embrace of God.
Your life isn’t defined by your mortality, for now is merely a short prelude to eternity with Christ.
Can you think beyond short-term gratification and perceive God’s longer-term strategy?
May I constantly keep my eyes on you, Lord.