Hard things are almost always harder when you face them alone. It might be medical tests or a big move or new job. Without the support of others, facing those tasks can seem insurmountable. At first they might be manageable, but with time, what seemed doable becomes an overwhelming flood of emotion that threatens to wash you away.
Contrast that with walking together with a trusted friend, family member, or spouse. The task may not be any easier, but the burden is lighter just by the very presence of the other person. It’s still difficult, but a little less overwhelming. The flood waters don’t seem to rise as high or the currents move quite so swiftly.
Joshua, the young leader of God’s people following the death of Moses, knew something of this. Tasked with leading God’s people into the promised land—a home they had been waiting hundreds of years to enter—I imagine he probably felt a little overwhelmed. God speaks to Joshua in chapter 1, verse 9:
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed… Joshua 1:9a
God reminds Joshua to be strong and courageous. Don’t be scared. Don’t lose hope. That sounds great, but it’s not so easy to do. If you’ve been on the edge of despair and are overwhelmed, it doesn’t usually help to hear someone say, “Buck up! Don’t worry!” But God doesn’t stop there. Here’s the full verse:
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.” Joshua 1:9
Did you catch that last part? Joshua was not strong and courageous on his own. He didn’t stop being scared or dismayed by his own strength. The real comfort for Joshua was that his God was with him. Whatever you are going through right now—whatever is causing you anxiety—know this: Jesus, your God, is with you wherever you go. He will be your strength and courage and peace!