Car trouble. It’s pretty much the worst.
It’s never convenient. It’s always expensive. And it is down right upsetting!
One of my grown kids is wrestling with some car trouble right now. It can be difficult to know what to do, especially as a young person. There are so many options to wade through when it comes to vehicle issues. Should you trade it in and get a better vehicle? Should you fix the one you have in the hopes that it would run for a few more years? Is the cost of the repair worth the investment? Sigh…
Maneuvering through these decisions is rough, it feels bigger than life. And for someone who is attempting adulthood on their own, it can even feel like it’s more than you can handle. Because it often is.
Thankfully, for my kiddo, he has a good support system. He has connections and helpful encouragement when he wants some advice. He doesn’t have to muster through all of these big life decisions on his own. Those adult choices are big ones to manage, but he is not alone.
Right after the death of Moses in the book of Deuteronomy, Joshua is told to take the Israelites across the Jordan River and into the Promised Land. This is no small feat! These same Israelites had been wandering in the desert of Kadesh for forty years. Earlier, in the book of Deuteronomy, God had told the Israelites to take the Promised Land as their own, but they refused. They feared their enemies more than they trusted God, and as a result of that sin, God banished them to the desert. They wandered there eating mannah and sometimes quail day after treacherous day. Year after exhausting year.
This journey should have taken them 11 days. But, instead, they made a life as nomads, traveling the sandy desert floor, most likely regretting their sin against God.
When time had passed, and Moses had died, this motley crew of wanderers was ready to finally obey God and enter the land. But this life they had been leading, albeit hot and dry, was what they knew. To do this thing that God had asked of them, would require change. And conquering enemies. And tasks that seemed scary and took big faith.
In Joshua 1:9, God gave them these words to encourage their hearts. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” They would not be alone, God Himself would go with them! And He was telling them not to be afraid, but to be STRONG! That He Himself was going to strengthen them and give them courage!
I believe that though God meant this as a promise to the Israelites, it is a truth from His word that you and I can take to heart as well. One thing I know for sure, is that this life has troubles. But I also know that God wants me to be strong and courageous in Him.
Consider Ephesians 6:10. “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” This verse comes just before Paul’s instructions about putting on the armor of God.
Paul knew that soldiers needed to “suit up” or put on their physical armor before going to battle against their enemy. When they put on all the pieces of armor to protect themselves, they would then have a good amount of courage moving forward. This courage came from knowing they had armor and tools and other soldiers to help them fight their enemy. But they were told to be strong in the Lord. To let their strength, come from Him.
God wants us to remember that He is our strength, and that nothing the enemy throws at us is bigger than what He can handle.
Isaiah 40:31 puts it this way “but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” When I feel that the situation I face is more than I can figure out on my own, I know that God will renew my strength when I put my hope in Him!
In Isaiah 41:10 we also read “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Here we are not told to be strong FOR God, but rather, IN Him. God is saying “Don’t’ be afraid, don’t give up. Let he help you and make you strong. I’ve got you!”
In Romans 8:28-39 Paul tells us plainly (that’s you and me, New Testament believers) “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Remembering that nothing can separate me from the love of God gives me courage and strength! There is no situation in this life where God’s love or His presence leaves me!
Often, when I am struggling with something, I can feel like I am alone. But over and over in scripture, I see God reminding His people (which includes you and me) that He is with us. Always. When I am able to exit my “freak out mode” and think clearly, I remember that God desires peace for me. That His presence is that peace. And that because of God’s love for me, that I never face anything alone. He loves me too much to leave me on my own, scared or sad. He is with me.
This week, as we talked through different vehicle scenarios and options with my son, he had more ease with the decisions that he had to make, because he had help and encouragement. He was willing to allow us to guide him through some of the choices that he had. And because of the wisdom and advice he got, he did end up getting a new car!
Because of our relationship with God and His community of believers, we are not alone. God provides the power and the courage to keep moving forward by His Holy Spirit. But He also gives us other believers to come alongside us to provide advice, encouragement, and yes, even strength.
We are all going through difficult times right now. It is important to know and remember two things.
God is always with us, we are not alone.
We find our strength in Him, and through the community of believers that He has given us.
Lord, I have seen over and over how you love me. Help me to remember your constant love and presence in my life. You are with me, all the time. I desire to draw my strength from you and from your word. Thank you for not giving up on me, even when I sometimes give up on myself.