8 Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.”
Deuteronomy 31:8 (NLT)
The above were the instructions given by Moses to Joshua when he handed over the leadership position to the latter. Being a leader to a few millions of people who were descendents of former slaves was not an easy job. Joshua was not only faced with the burden of keeping them together but he was also entrusted with the job that Moses could not do, taking over the Promised Land.
The Promised Land at that time was full of fortified cities. The people there were not going to allow the Israelites to take over without a fight. So war was inevitable and Joshua had to be the one to take the responsibility of leading his people to war. Wars always come with risks of defeat and loss. This could be why Moses started with “Do not be afraid or discouraged”.
He was assuring his successor that the Lord was with him, the Lord was faithful in delivering his promises to his people. As long as he continues to believe and determined to obey God, he will be able to overcome every obstacle in his path.
I believe this assurance is meant for christians as well. What will you do when you are faced with challenges that are more than you can handle in the natural? Do you get panic? Will you try to run away? Or will you be calm and assure yourself that God will see you through? Will you be able to live on courageously and not be discouraged because you believe your God will personally go ahead of you, be with you and will never fail or abandon you?
Don’t you wish that all the problems you are going to face in the future are within you capability to solve? If this wish comes true for you, then you can never improve, you can never grow as a person. Why? Your faith will not be stretch as you don’t feel the urgency to do so.
Just imagine what will happen if God is to shield every christian from problems that are beyond our natural capabilities to solve? We don’t use our faith at all because we don’t need to. Why bother to pray over the problems we can easily solve? Isn’t it a waste of time? Even if we pray, we will just pray courtesy prayers. This means we just pray as a ritual because in our hearts we already have the solutions. What will happen then? We will never improve. Our faith will never grow. We will never receive the exceeding and the abundant prosperity that God wants us to have. We will definitely be in not position to help others and be a blessing to others.
It is only through situations that are seemingly impossible that can get us to use our faith. Our faith will then be tested. Untested faith is useless. Let me give you an example. It is easy to believe Jesus died poor at the Cross to make you rich when you have a lot of money in the bank and own a thriving business. The test will come if your business hits a downturn and you lost all your money. Will you still believe God wants you to be rich? What you really believe in will be obvious through your response to your loss. If you become depressed, discouraged and lost hope, this means you have never believed in God in the first place. You allowed your financial statement to be source of your faith and not God. Therefore a downturn in your financial statement will lead to a downturn in your faith.
If you are in the above situation, you should be rejoicing because now you know the problem with your faith. Since you know the problem, you will be in the position to fix it. You know now that your faith was not in God. Therefore start believing in God. Start reading the Bible and meditate on it. Start confessing the promises of God in your life. Start listening to faith messages. Start filling up your mind with the positive thoughts of God. As you do the above, your faith will grow and you can be sure that your faith is now firmly planted in the Word Of God. Very soon, you will get back all that you have loss and much more. Should you face similar setback in the future, you will be able to overcome it because you know how to use your faith. This is called growing in faith.
The same principle works for health. It is easy to believe in God’s promise of health and healing when you don’t have major health problems. However if you are struck with a major health problem that turns terminal and incurable, you faith will be tested. This is the time to start using your faith to overcome your sickness because medical science has failed. Once you have succeeded, you can be sure that you have mastered the art of fighting disease with faith. You not only to fight any future intrusion of disease, you will be in position to help others to do the same.
The message here is, when you are faced with problems that are beyond your natural capability to solve, it is faith-stretching time. This is the time for you to use your faith. If your faith doesn’t work as expected, find out what is wrong and fix it. As long as you remain courageous, not discouraged and don’t give up, you will not only overcome your problems but you will emerge stronger with your faith. You natural capability will get bigger and more powerful.
Soon, you will have bigger problems. As long as you repeat the above pattern, you will triumph over them and emerge with stronger faith. When your faith has reached the level for you to enjoy abundant prosperity in every area of your life, you will probably look back and be grateful for those “problems”. Don’t you wish such days to come into your life?