The LORD Himself goes before you; He will be with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid or discouraged.
(Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV)
Friend to Friend
The letter had arrived. I had been waiting for weeks and finally, there it was! With my breath half-held, I ripped open the back, unfolded the paper, and began to speedread the words, rushing to reach the point of the letter.
Denied. My sweet Taylor’s special needs bathtub insert had been denied by the insurance company. Showering her had become somewhat of an Olympic feat, trying to wash her well and hold her up at the same time. Though she could no longer sit up alone on the shower chair, someone felt she didn’t meet the proper criteria.
Time seemed to stand still for a moment as discouragement poured over my heart and mind. Why did life with a special needs child/adult have to be so hard? Why couldn’t the needs simply be met when proved, without extra steps of more paperwork, more distress, more waiting?
I know you’ve been there. Oh, maybe it wasn’t an insurance denial, but the news you anticipated was not what you received or the circumstances you hoped for were dashed. Maybe right now the wait you endured has extended into the unknown with no end in sight.
If we take a glance back in Scripture to the verses before today’s key verse in Deuteronomy 31, we can see that this verse marks a special moment in history as Moses passed off the baton to Joshua, the next leader of the children of Israel. Moses had been told he would not be able to cross over to Jordan. But Moses didn’t pout. He didn’t fret. His expression to God’s people essentially said, “You don’t need me. You have God.” “The Lord your God himself will cross over ahead of you.” Deuteronomy 31:3
Moses testified to all of Israel that God would deliver them as they crossed the Jordan to possess the land and encouraged them again with, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
I must ponder what flashbacks Moses might have had as he delivered this message to the people. Was it the time God spoke to him from a burning bush? Or when the Lord told him to go before Pharaoh and let his people go? Perhaps when he saw the back parts of God’s glory from the cleft of the rock? Or when the Ten Commandments were passed to him from heaven? Regardless of whether his life flashed before his eyes, Moses charged Joshua with words to remember, words to live by.
Though the children of Israel were about to enter new territory, God knew where they were headed. It didn’t matter that they were uncertain about the next right step, all they had to do was obey the God of certainty.
Praise the Lord that when discouragement pours down, we are not alone. God is with us and not only is He with us, He has gone before us. What does that really mean? It means He already knows the way ahead. When we can’t see to the finish line, our God not only knows the finish line, but He knows every step of the journey to get to the finish line. We do not have to feel that our steps will falter; He holds us up!
But not only does He know the way ahead of us, He has gone before us in that He has prepared us for this moment. The trials we’ve experienced throughout our lives have paved the way to this day, this moment. We have been strengthened day by day. We don’t have to be afraid or discouraged when we follow the God of creation and Lord over all!
It was a warm September day in 2018 when I opened the insurance denial letter I described earlier. I had no idea that although we would finally receive approval for the wonderful tub insert we desperately needed for sweet Taylor; the insert would not arrive until several months later.
I also had no way of knowing that Taylor would take a turn for the worse just shortly after the equipment arrival. She never had the chance to enjoy a few moments of a warm bath inside that tub because God called her home to heaven at the beginning of January 2019.
But years earlier, the Lord had connected Taylor with a beautiful friend, Clara. And He also knew that Clara would need that special needs tub insert here on earth once He called Taylor home to heaven. So, He gave us the privilege of gifting that tub to Clara.
“The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
Dear Father, I feel uncertain about the path ahead. Everything seems wobbly and I’m weary of unsure ground. Help me, Lord, to rest on Your Word. Help me to remember that You have paved the way and I have no need to be afraid or discouraged because You are with me. And You will never leave me.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Are there uncertainties in life causing you to drown in discouragement? Why do you believe Moses repeated the same words again and again in one setting?
More from the Girlfriends
Does the longing to understand God’s plan interfere with your ability to trust Him fully? Take the One More Step 5- day devotional challenge or grab your copy of Rachel’s book, One More Step: Finding Strength When You Feel Like Giving Up.