I remember the first time a dear friend asked me to speak in a close group. I wanted to do it, but I was so apprehensive. I knew I had God’s promise that He would be with me, but I got in agreement with that fear, wrapped it up in excuses for why I couldn’t do it, and said no. I remember that approach was like a black cloud coming right at me. When I gave in to the fear, I became discouraged and miserable. Then I realized that fear was at the root of why I was so miserable, and I saw that this was the enemy trying to steal my destiny. I had to unwrap the fear and discouragement from my list of excuses and recognize them for what they really were.
In Joshua 1, Joshua and the nation of Israel stood at the border of the Promised Land, where forty years before they had failed to go in and conquer because of fear and discouragement. God’s promise was: “I will give you every place where you set your foot”. But all the obstacles to the promise remained in the land – powerful nations with armies, fortified cities, and giants. God said to Joshua, “Have I not commanded you? 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 verse 9. God broke it down in the simplest terms for Joshua and for us. “You need to be strong and courageous, because your biggest enemies are fear and discouragement, not armies and giants”. God is saying, “Don’;t let fear become part of your identity. Don’t let discouragement define you”.
I have seen so many people give up on what they want to do because of a fear of embarrassment or criticism from others or because they think they don’t have what it takes to overcome an obstacle. If we hang around fear and discouragement long enough, it’s interesting how we can wrap that fear in a circumstance and make it an excuse that keeps us from God’s promise. God’s remedy to Joshua is the same remedy He gives to us. He said, “The only way to fight fear and discouragement, to be strong and courageous, is to take hold of My Word and obey it. Keep My words always on your lips, and discouragement and fear must flee. Get My Word into your thinking and meditate on it until it drops down into the very depths of who you are”. He says He will be with you wherever you go. And if God will bring Joshua to possess the Promised Land, He will bring you to keep His promises too!
Remember loneliness is designed to help you discover who you are, and to stop looking outside yourself for your worth.
Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life. If we were to go through our life without any obstacles, we would be crippled. We would not be as strong as we could have been. Give every opportunity a chance, leave no room for wishes undone.