What to do when the unexpected happens

The following article was first published on our church website.



“Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:7-9)


Strength and courage come easily when the wind is behind you and the sun is shining on your face. However, when faced with unexpected setbacks and ferocious skirmishes, just like Joshua is about to encounter, they can quickly evaporate! As if to reinforce the importance of strength and courage, God speaks these words into Joshua’s heart twice in these few verses.

Joshua was about to embark on a mission like no other. He was about to lead his people into a war of wars and he needed to know that God was with him. How might he know, in the fluid and ever-changing circumstances of an invasion campaign, that God was with him? He needed to:

  1. Anchor his heart and then live by the truths of God’s word (v7)
  2. Learn to fill up his imagination and vision (meditation) with God’s truths, rather than listening to the shouting voices of the immediate and urgent (v8).

In this unexpected and unsettling time, we would do well to heed God’s advice to Joshua. Let us be people who anchor our hearts to the truth of scripture and do all we can to fill up our imagination with what it says! This is how to find true biblical strength and courage.


Father God, in a world that has learned afresh just how fragile it is, would you help me to anchor my heart into the eternal and living truths of scripture. Help me to fill up my imagination and thinking with your words. Amen

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