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
As a kid, I spent a lot of time reading comic books and the feats of the superheroes Superman, Batman, Spiderman, whatever I could get my hands on. Their stories of victory over the villains were a great escape. Where I was a nerdy kid, afraid of the dark, and had nightmares. I was anything but strong and courageous, but these fictional characters represented the potential of what could be.
In Deuteronomy 31, God had told Moses his time is near, and it's time for him to turn things over to Joshua. After his death, Israel would enter the Promised Land. A land inhabited by powerful and fierce people living in fortified cities (Numbers 13:28). They were afraid and terrified. There would be mighty battles, and most certainly, some of their family and friends would die. But they had forgotten what God could do. He had delivered them from Egypt, parted the Red Sea, provided food and water, and neither their clothes nor sandals wore out during the 40-year trek. The God that had brought them this far was going ahead of them; all they needed was to trust. In their faith, they would find strength and courage.
Like Israel, we often forget the journey God has led us on, thinking only of the trial we are facing now. However, looking back over our lives, we recall the many times he has delivered us. With that knowledge, we can have confidence that the problem we face today is no different. God is with us, and he will not forsake us. He will provide us with the strength and courage we need. Not only does God go with us, but he goes before us. We don't need to be superheroes; that’s God's job. We only need to trust.
Merciful, loving, and compassionate God, we give thanks for the strength and courage we find in you. When we fear what is ahead, we can recall all the times in the past when you've delivered us. You have promised that you'll never leave us alone. We can trust in you with confidence that the big thing in front of us now is small to you. You will provide us the strength and courage we need. Please help us share your message of hope with others. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.
Before us it is blessed, behind us it is blessed, below us it is blessed, above us it is blessed, around us it is blessed as we set out with Christ.
Our speech is blessed as we set out for God.
With beauty before us, with beauty behind us, with beauty below us, with beauty above us, with beauty around us, we set out for a holy place indeed. Amen.
(Traditional Navaho Prayer. BOW 562)