Around 1200 BC the Israelites were camped east of the Jordan river receiving instructions from their leader, Moses, and preparing to cross over into the promised land. For 40 years they had wandered in the desert as a result of their past disobedience and unwillingness to believe God could give them the land. Now, the next generation was given a second chance to fulfill the destiny God had in mind for them.
As they camped on the eastern bank of the Jordan Moses reminded them of all God had done for them in the past, in an attempt to prepare them for what they would face in the future. Read and reflect on Moses’ words from Deuteronomy 20:1-4:
“1 When you go to war against your enemies and see horses and chariots and an army greater than yours, do not be afraid of them, because the Lord your God, who brought you up out of Egypt, will be with you. 2 When you are about to go into battle, the priest shall come forward and address the army. 3 He shall say: “Hear, Israel: Today you are going into battle against your enemies. Do not be fainthearted or afraid; do not panic or be terrified by them. 4 For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.”
Like the Israelites, perhaps the greatest battle we face is FAITH vs. FEAR. On Friday, March 13, I read this passage when the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic was just beginning to become real in Kansas. That morning David and I cancelled a trip to Omaha for the weekend. Later that day, through conversation with our EFC-MAYM youth leaders, the second week of Spring Invasion was cancelled. The following week everything escalated, and the city of Wichita began to shut down.
Being a small business owner, with a restaurant in the mall (which is now closed), as well as recently building a new house, with the closing date on our current one not until April 30 (hopefully), like you, I have some reason for concern. Where is this all going?
For the first few days after the mall shut down, I must admit I felt the weight of what was transpiring around me overwhelm me. Nearing age 60, all of my life, like many of you, I have attempted to make wise financial decisions. And, now we have reached a point in history where our efforts may not make a difference.
For many of us, we may feel helpless, because this is not about anything we have done. But, it is more about what is happening TO us. Like the Israelites, we stand on the eastern shore of the Jordan, looking across at a vast army and say to ourselves, humanly speaking, we cannot win this war, and we didn’t sign up for this. The enemy is too big. The army we are facing is too strong. And it is…for us.
However, as followers of Jesus, we need not dismay. We need not fear. God will go ahead of us. He will fight for us. He is the God of our past, present and future. I heard it said this morning, when we worry about tomorrow, we are giving it double the power over us. Not only do we deal with it tomorrow, but we give it power over us today as well. If there has ever been a time when you and I have an opportunity to live out our faith, it is today.
I cannot say I have won the battle with fear yet, but I find myself making headway. I find myself celebrating the little blessings of the day…sharing a meal with a neighbor…enjoying unanticipated time with family…reflecting on the beauty of spring coming upon us. I do not know what the future holds. But, the bigger battle is the battle for my heart and mind today. God will be victorious, and He will supply all my needs (and yours) in and through Christ Jesus, and we will personally learn the secret of contentment in the days ahead as we trust Him more.
Where is it all going? I don’t know. But, I am finding the more I seek God and trust Him to win the battle for me, the more at peace I become.
As one of your superintendents, please know that we love you and care about what is going on in your life. Let us know how we can support you and pray for you through these uncertain days. We are in this together, and we have a GREAT BIG GOD who wants to show off His power and love through us these days.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof….Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.