I know there are a lot of people that like scary movies and TV shows and scary gory books, but I don’t. I’m not even fond of people who jump out from behind doors and yell “Boo!” I think I have lived through enough real, and what seemed real, scary events in my life that I just don’t get any good thrills out of being scared. Did you ever notice how many opportunities we have in life to be scared, or filled with anxiety, or even just nervous about the outcome of most anything unknown?I have been reading through The One Year Chronological Bible, and I admit I did not start until a couple of months ago, so I am still in March, but I have noticed a phrase that seems to pop up fairly frequently: Be strong and of good courage or some variation of it, like in Joshua 1:7 “Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you.” That’s followed up pretty quickly with v. 9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
I think they must have been facing some scary circumstances for God to want to encourage them this way, and to remind them that He was with them, so why on earth should they be scared. And this was not the only time that we find those words or similar ones. Check out Joshua 10: 25, “And Joshua said to them, “Do not be afraid or dismayed; be strong and courageous. For thus the Lord will do to all your enemies against whom you fight.” Or I Chron. 28:20, “Then David said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous and do it. Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed, for the Lord God, even my God, is with you. He will not leave you or forsake you, all the work for the service of the house of the LORD is finished.”We even find similar words in Hebrews 13:5 and 6, “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you. So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”
I guess maybe it is because you see Halloween everywhere right now, and invitations or announcements of scary parties or walks or rides, or maybe it was my introduction to steam punk writing through a very gory piece of writing from one of my students, or maybe it is the myth that I hear proclaimed in some branches of “christianity,” that if you get “right” with God, everything will fall into place and you will be ‘happy.’ Whatever, this I do know, living out your faith can take you to scary places, like war zones and doctors’ offices where the word cancer hangs in the air, or the bedsides of dying loved ones, or …well, you fill in your scary places. We do all have them.
And that is where those phrases become so important, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” and “I will never leave you nor forsake you. So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper.” So, I am not going to any Halloween parties or on any scary rides, but when really scary things do come my way, and I know they will, I will remind myself that God knew I would face scary times and He set me up for it with these truths, that He will never leave me and that I don’t need any kind of liquid courage, if you know what I mean, I can walk with real courage because the bottom line is that God is my helper.
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