Coming through with everything He promised
Positivity and choosing to look at the glass as half full are attributes I work hard to maintain and believe to be necessary for a thriving life. In transparency though, I have times where I experience discouragement without having a particular reason. As I continue to engage with my congregation, the community, and folks across the country, I have seen a trend of people struggling to keep their spirits from becoming down. The reality for all of us is we are facing a present and future we are not familiar with and not sure how it will come to a finality.
I love the story of the people of Israel as they prepare to enter the Promise Land after 40 years of wandering in the wilderness. I am especially enamored with Joshua and how the Lord called him and empowered him to lead the people into a new day. One of the fascinating experiences of Joshua as he prepares to take over for Moses comes in Deuteronomy chapter 31 where Moses himself installs Joshua and commissions him for leadership.
Deuteronomy 31: 8 (NIV) “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.” One understanding of discouragement is having no expectation or confidence of a favorable outcome. There seems to be a natural connection between ongoing discouragement and the onset of depression. It grieves the heart of this pastor to see how depression continues to impact more and more people in our culture.
There could be an argument made concerning the proclamation and command given to Joshua by Moses and the Lord. Joshua and the people could have been so excited about finally getting into the Promise Land and out of the wilderness they did not even consider the battles and journey still before them. It could be said they were more focused on the positive potential for the future to be fearful or discouraged. I believe they knew exactly what they were facing and still had to choose intentionally and deliberately to believe God was for them, with them and had a plan for them no one could defeat. We have the same choice during this season of our lives and the world.
As I write this, I am literally feeling emotions of grief and hope as I think of so many where are battling discouragement right now. Grief because I know so many are struggling, but hope because I still believe in the faithfulness, steadfastness, and fidelity of God. Just so you know, God came through with everything He promised Joshua. The journey into the Promised Land was not without some difficulties and hard lessons, but God brought them through and made a way.
I leave you to consider this from Revelation 22: 6 (NIV) “The angel said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent His angel to show His servants the things that must soon take place.”
Whatever happens in the future is not a shock to The Lord, for He has today, tomorrow, and forever in His hands, we need not to be discouraged!
That is Good News!
Rev. Brad McKenzie is Lead Pastor at Orange First Church of the Nazarene, 3810 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Orange.