“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 1:9 NIV).
Friend to Friend
My toes curled over the edge of the diving board, its rough plastic chilling my feet. The water below seemed a thousand miles away. Excited friends urged me to take the leap. With a deep breath, I poised to jump. Then, fear gripped my heart and sent me scurrying down the ladder to safety.
Fear continued to get the last word as I grew. At a summer party, I skipped the fun to hide where nobody could view my pre-teen body in a swimsuit. A piano recital was ruined by stage fright that paralyzed my fingers. As a young woman, I refused an interview for a perfect job, simply because fear said, “You don’t have what it takes.” Fear controlled my plans, relationships, and my trust in God’s love.
I’m guessing you, too, know the power of fear to stop you in your tracks. You hear God’s invitation to serve Him with your gifts. To be vulnerable with your emotions. To set boundaries with destructive people. You want to take hold of His “good, pleasing, and perfect will” (Romans 12:2) but the risk seems greater than the reward.
In the Bible, we meet the oh-so-relatable Joshua who fought his own battle with fear. As Moses’s successor to lead Israel into the promised land, he had some huge shoes to fill. After all, Moses had four decades of experience. He was the singular prophet “whom the Lord knew face to face, who did all those signs and wonders the Lord sent him to do in Egypt…” (Deuteronomy 34:10-11). How could Joshua possibly accomplish what the world’s greatest prophet was unable to do?
Joshua was also tasked with leading stubborn people who were more likely to fail than follow. He heard their whining for meat when heavenly manna no longer satisfied (Numbers 11:4-6). Rather than worshiping their awesome Deliverer, they bowed down to useless idols (Exodus 32:8). He witnessed their angry refusal to follow Moses, believing human enemies held more power than God (Numbers 14:3-4). At the land’s borders, would the people go with Joshua or turn tail and run?
Joshua also knew that to move forward, they must battle “greater and stronger” enemies “with large cities that have walls up to the sky” (Deuteronomy 9:1). Without God’s help, their story would end in death and defeat.
What about you? Maybe it feels impossible to measure up to others’ expectations. Efforts to influence your kids, succeed at work, or build your ministry are going nowhere fast. You feel you’re losing the battle for your health, marriage, or finances. Fear is crushing your faith, leaving you lost and discouraged.
God knew what Joshua needed when fear was shouting in his ear. Over and over, God repeated His command: “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 1:9). You and I need the same—God’s clear, persistent call to courageously trust in Him.
That kind of faith is much more than wrestling down anxious emotions. It’s choosing to believe God’s presence never leaves our side. He never abandons his daughters in our time of need. Each prayer is heard. No matter the terrors we face, God never lets us go.
God also provides His Word as a hammer to smash the fear and doubts that control our lives. Like he promised Joshua, “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful” (Joshua 1:8). If we saturate our lives with the Bible and do what it says, fear gives way to confidence and peace.
Joshua did lead the nation into the promised land. God is patiently untangling the fear wrapped around my own heart and mind. Today, He’ll give all you need to choose faith over fear. We don’t know the future. But we do know God’s love is constant and sure. The Bible’s promises won’t let us down.
Dear Lord, I face troubles I’m powerless to overcome. I imagine every kind of disaster that could strike in the year ahead. Yet You promise Your love will never let me go. Give me the courage to follow where You lead. Turn fear to faith as I trust You with my life.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
Name one “enemy” you’re battling that seems impossible to beat.
How would you see your situation differently if you believed God was with you right now?
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Joanna and her husband, Rob, created Powerful Prayers for Your Son so you can pray for every part of your son’s life. Whether it’s his integrity and character, hopes and plans, or his stress and pain, Powerful Prayers for Your Son puts words to the burdens on your heart for your boy.
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