"It is The Lord your God who goes before you; He will be with you, He will not fail you or forsake you; do not fear or be dismayed."
I'm so blessed to have holy friends in my life like Shelby.
I was lucky enough to mentor Shelby last year when I was a missionary at UNL. She is now a missionary out here in Colorado and is changing lives each and every day. When my team was on site in Dallas, I received a text from her telling me she thought I would like this scripture. And did I ever. What Shelby didn't know was the following few days Jesus would be asking me to really trust this.
The people of Israel have been delivered from Egypt, but they have been prevented from entering the promised land due to their lack of trust. Here, Moses is sending Joshua to lead all the people into the land God had promised them. Exciting, right? Wrong. The last time the people went in to scope out the land, they were terrified of the giants that lived there. So much so that they refused to trust God. Which didn't really work out for them because God then prevented them from going in due to their lack of trust.
It is scary because no one who originally left Egypt could go in. These people had been led by Moses for the last 40+ years. Moses was the primary communicator with God, and he would not be going with them. So as he is sending him out, Moses speaks these words of encouragement to Joshua, reminding him that God is with him.
I've been trying to work on my awareness of God in all parts of my life. Last week, I told a friend that I feel like I'm on the cusp of something. God has been building me up and building me up, and I just feel like something big is about to happen - like Joshua must have been feeling as he is finally about the enter into the promised land. Excited, yet incredibly terrified.
Why the fear? For the Israelites it was a fear of the giants - a very real fear of death. For me, it is a fear of the unknown. Like the Israelites, it is a fear of vulnerability.
The theme of my prayer lately has been protection. The Lord is my Shepard. He protects me with His victorious right hand. Yes, I know this intellectually, but when I was on the discernment retreat, Jesus showed me that I wasn't really believing it. "I will not fail or forsake you." Do we really believe, deep in our hearts, that The Lord has our best in store? Do we trust Him enough to acknowledge the deep desires He has put on our hearts? Last weekend I realized I was masking my desires and not really believing that Jesus would fulfill my longing. So I refused to acknowledge what I really wanted.
So I mustered up some boldness and courage and starting asking Jesus for something very specific. And on Thursday, Jesus told me no. First I was sad. Then I was angry. And now...peace.
Yesterday in Kindergarten Religious Ed we talked about promises and what they mean. I wanted my kids to walk away know that our God is a god who keeps His promises. As I was preparing this lesson, all I could think was, "ugggggghhhhh this is more for me than for the kiddos." Jesus has promised to protect me and has promised He will make me prosper. Even though I didn't get what I thought I wanted, these promises remain. He will fulfill the desires of my heart, just not in the way that I expect. And this gives me peace.
Jesus, you go before me in all things. In my work at the FOCUS office, in my mission fields, and in my relationships. You have prepared the way, and you will be with me. The thought of you preparing my future fills me with gratitude and joy! I do not deserve this.
I want to keep working on being aware that Jesus has prepared the way for me and He is with me. I am praying for continued peace, and the grace to walk through these recent events in light of God's promise to me.