The scariest thing God has ever asked me to do was to quit law school and move across the country to Washington, DC. The Lord’s call did not make sense; my plan was to be a lawyer. I knew very few people in DC and did not have a job lined up, and I anxiously wondered what God had in store and how He would provide.
Even though I was nervous out of my mind, I said “yes” to God’s call.
The Lord worked in amazing ways in the years that followed, opening up the door for me to work at the White House (something I never would have imagined possible) and blessing me with great, Godly friends and a loving church family.
The life of a believer is filled with many calls from God, some of which are difficult to follow. When God asks us to do something uncomfortable, we can’t let negative emotions dictate whether we’ll do what He asks; if we’re not careful, these fears and feelings can cripple our spiritual walk. Instead, we must be obedient in following Him.
In the book of Joshua, the Lord graciously provides guidance on how we should handle calls from God that make us scared. In chapter 1, God commanded Joshua to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land. He then told Joshua THREE times to be “strong and courageous.” I believe God repeated this important phrase to calm Joshua and prepare him for the daunting task ahead.
Although Joshua must have felt overwhelmed, he said “yes” to God, immediately following God’s instructions and successfully leading the people in a seven-year conquest of the Promised Land.
As God prepared Joshua to lead the Israelites, He shared with him several truths. We can apply these to our own lives when we are nervous about God’s call:
God has plans for each of us
In Joshua 1:6, God told Joshua to be strong and courageous because He had plans for Him – just like He wants us to be strong and courageous because He has plans of good works for us to do (Eph. 2:10). We must remember there are purposes behind His calls and make the choice to say “yes” even if we feel butterflies in our stomach and if His commands don’t make worldly sense.
A few years ago, I felt the Lord calling me to go on a two-week mission trip to Egypt. I was worried about traveling there and made up every excuse in the book not to go. To this day, I wonder what God had in store for me during that trip.
Deliberately saying “no” to God produces the most profound sense of regret in one’s heart. We don’t want to miss anything the Lord has for us here on earth because we are too scared to step out in faith.
God’s word gives us great encouragement
God tells Joshua in Joshua 1:8, “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.”
Our relationship with Christ grows deeper the more we understand His Word and we become stronger and more courageous.
Knowing the Bible also helps us fix our eyes on the eternal things of God that we don’t see (2 Corinthians 4:18). We become braver because we recognize many of our fears are so temporary and unimportant compared with the magnificence of God.
God is here with us
In Deuteronomy 31:8, Moses spoke with Joshua about God’s plans for him, telling Joshua, “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
What comforting promises for us, too!
We must always be mindful that God is active here on earth and trust in His presence even though we can’t see Him (Heb. 11:1). When we are discouraged, scared, or need help, the Holy Spirit makes us strong and works through us to accomplish His will.
Jesus desires for us to love Him and serve Him with our whole lives. Whatever the Lord asks you to do, be strong and courageous. And like Joshua, say “yes!”