Over 30 years ago, I remember sitting in an evangelism training class at my little church after becoming a new believer. It was the first time I heard Joshua 1:9. "Have not I 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 knew I had to
memorize it--get it in my bones! I remember many blurry times through years of school, relationship troubles, marriage, many moves, having children, and now experiencing the death of my husband that this verse has echoed through my head and heart. Although, I am not Moses arising to lead people over the Jordan into the promised land (at least not in the literal sense); Moses and I do have one thing in common. We are His servants. And do you know God takes care of His servants? He gives them courage beyond their imagination. God led, trained and instructed His people to take courage throughout history and He still does today.
Courage= "strength in the face of pain or grief"
This month I was reminded of the courage of my late husband, Matt. The courage he took in believing in a God He couldn't see. Matt took the courage to talk about it with people-esp. his family. He took courage to fight his battle against cancer with faith, grace and love for the Lord. He took courage to be Jesus to others even when his body was failing. He took courage to prepare things for me so that the tasks after his passing would not be confusing. I loved his courage. I miss it.
The kids and I traveled to Colorado to hold a burial ceremony at the USAFA, Colorado Springs on July 18th. The sun, the scenery and the Academy were beautiful to see again this time of year. Although it was extremely painful being there without Matt. The Air Force honor guard detail played Taps, fired three shots, and folded a flag and presented it to me during the ceremony.
I praise God for the courage it took to stand there and receive it. I'll admit that everything in me wanted to throw it back at them and scream, "NO!".
I am grateful that having courage doesn't mean that I have to be in control, or be strong enough or meet the expectations of others. Nothing about being courageous involves anything I can do. It is all about Jesus not leaving me or forsaking me. He gives the strength, He provides the ability to stand when I feel like crumbling to the floor. He holds my chin up when I feel like not looking to Him. He reminds me that He is my courage when I see a couple holding hands and I long for Matt. He assures me that He is watching over the details of the lives of my children when I feel I don't have the right words for them. He shows me glimpses of courage in nature as I walk, hike, and ride my bike. More on this.... in part 2.
So today, my reminder is to not be afraid and do not be dismayed , for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go. Even in the depths of grief. He is with me and with you.