Last night we had a unusually warm evening, so we ventured out for a walk and playtime at the nearby playground. My daughter loves to explore playgrounds, and I sheepishly admit having irrational fears that she’ll be to adventurous and cause injury to herself. I think in the back of my mind that she’ll be more daring then I am myself, but tonight my fears have been relieved. She is as scared as I was when I was a kid, in fact she is quite timid.

One step at a time I’m sure these giant rubber mounds sticking up from the ground looked so big to my daughter before she mounted one to walk across, but after climbing the first, then second, which is a few inches taller and then to the third, now four inches shorter than the second, she began to get very scared and begged for our help. She asks for our hand, but we believe in her and cheer her on to complete the next step on her own.

After a few moments of hesitancy and disbelief in herself, she cries out again for help. I hold out my hand for her, but reply “All you need is my one little finger, you can do it”. She looks at me, grabs my one little finger and confidently walks to the next mound. We exclaim in loud, boisterous (and somewhat high-pitched parenting voices) “Good job Madelyn! We knew you could do it!”

In that moment I realized that sometimes all we need in our lives and ministry is to know that we can hold on to someone for strength, courage, and hope. But sadly all too often I forget that God is there and I ignore his hand. Some days I am completely confident… in myself. Which can get me into lots of trouble.

In the beginning of Joshua you read,

6 Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. 7 Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. 8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. 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.” vv.6-9

Three times Joshua is charged to be strong and courageous in the task he was about to do. I can only imagine what he might have been thinking; except for the part where they would go to war and have to kill their enemies. Never done that before. But, I firmly believe that God has created each of us with the ability to make wise decisions but it is never divorced from Him and His Word. Twice in the above verses Joshua is commanded to do all according to the Word and to not let it depart from his mouth. And he ends in verse nine with an incredible promise, the LORD your God is with you wherever you go. We can be strong and courageous in life and ministry, but know that God is there to hold out his hand.