“This is my command… be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
Joshua 1:9, NLT
The LORD gives this bold command to Joshua. He tells Joshua he is present and leading him forward. Joshua shares God’s words with the Israelites, who are surely still grieving the loss of their leader Moses. Joshua is telling his people to be strong, but let us not forgot that he has lost his dear friend and leader as well. At the end of the conversation, the people actually repeat to Joshua: “Only be strong and courageous!” (Joshua 1:18b, NIV). Not only is everyone in this story is familiar with loss, they are also repeating and exchanging this bold phrase to cope with their loss.
Be strong and courageous.
This situation is not all that much different from our every day lives. We experience loss daily. We may not necessarily lose a leader, but we certainly lose focus on our leader.
We lose sleep over our worries; we lose heart when the struggles exhaust us. We lose games. We lose opportunities. We lose concentration. We lose our tempers. We are all too familiar with losses, both minor and great.
I hate losing; losing sucks. None of us intentionally choose to lose something (except for like, weight), but loss is a part of our everyday lives. Are we good losers though? Do we strengthen and encourage others amidst a shared loss? Or do we yell and kick and scream when things don’t go our way?
To be honest with you, more often than not, I kick and scream when I’m losing. Letting go feels like admitting I am a loser. Settling and accepting the facts are the last thing I want to do when my life does not meet the standard I set. God shares in this moment of disappoint too, but he is already aware of what is to come next. He continues to lead us forward.
Whatever loss it is today that gets you down shouldn’t have the power to keep you from getting back up.
It costs us more to continue in a downward spiral when we encounter loss because in that, we lose ourselves. We lose our days to self-pity. Instead, we need to look at loss straight on and choose the strength and courage that comes from our LORD.
News flash: It does not matter if we win. It does not matter if I win. Earthly gains are meaningless. What’s more important is that Christ wins—in our hearts and lives. We honor Christ despite any loss. We are strong, and we are courageous. The LORD is with us wherever we go. There is no loss that he has not attuned for.
Devotional written by Heather Christy. Graphic designed by Sam Paul.