Is God More Faithful in One Situation than Another?
- Thursday, March 02, 2006
I think of Rick Husband and the rest of the crew on the space shuttle Challenger, which burned up on it reentry into earth's atmosphere. The last time Evelyn, Rick's wife, saw him on the night before liftoff, he led a brief devotional for the crew and spouses and recited Joshua 1:5-9 from memory.
No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so will I be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. 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.
This passage contains one of the most profound promises that God has ever made to an individual human being. No one was more acquainted with God's special relationship with Moses than Joshua. He was permitted inside the Tent of Meeting and witnessed the face-to-face meetings of Moses and the Lord. Joshua was intimately acquainted with the unique relationship between Moses and God. Moses was the one who had changed Joshua's name from Hoshea. Joshua means "the Lord delivers."
"No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you." This promise seems to indicate that whatever Joshua decreed in his position of leadership, it would be accomplished just as it was with Moses. Yet we know from scripture that Moses encountered great rebellion among the people. When Joshua died, he was 110 years old. He had seen the fulfillment of much of what God had promised, but vast areas of land that the Israelites had been promised yet remained in enemy hands. So what was God promising here to Joshua, and does that promise extend to Rick Husband and his crew, and to you and me?
God gave some promises in Scripture to specific people in specific situations, but the writers to the Hebrews echoed the promise to Joshua, extending it to us: "God has said, 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.' So we say with confidence, 'The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?'" (13:5-6)
As I was with Moses, I will be with you.
The Lord God will be with you wherever you go.
As a young believer I wanted to think that if God was with me, He would protect me from the harsher experiences in life, but that is not the promise here. The promise is that wherever that path takes us, God will be there. On that fateful morning, Evelyn Husband waited with her daughter, Laura, and son, Matthew, and watched the clock on the tarmac count down the shuttle's return. She had no way of knowing that when the clock said Rick would touch down in five minutes, he was already with Jesus.
Did God's words to Joshua, which Rick shared with his crew, fail? Did they place their faith in a promise given to another man in a different time?
Evelyn says no! As the families were quickly taken off the tarmac into a private room, and it became clear that something had gone drastically wrong, Laura whispered to her mom, "God will get us through this."
Whatever the Husband family is facing, God is with them. Whatever you are facing right now, God is with you.
Sheila Walsh is a popular recording artist, best-selling author, and acclaimed Women of Faith conference speaker who knows what it's like to pray the prayers of the desperate. She has learned firsthand the fallacy of thinking that if she just has enough faith, her life will be eay and trouble free. Looking back on her lifetime journey through both shadow and sunlight, Sheila today defines faith as "my soul's fixed, unflinching gaze on Christ, wherever it takes me."
Book Excerpt from Extraordinary Faith by Sheila Walsh (Nelson Books, 2005)
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