Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

– Joshua 1:9 (NIV)

“Mira que te mando que te esfuerces y seas valiente; no temas ni desmayes, porque Jehová tu Dios estará contigo en dondequiera que vayas.”

 – Josue 1:9 Reina-Valera 1960 (RVR1960)

As I lay resting one night, my mind traveling to the past few months since my mother’s passing to eternity, Joshua 1:9 came to mind. I recited it in my native language as that is how I learned it in my Spanish speaking church where I grew up. I repeated the verse again in English. The words most prominent were: be courageous, don’t be afraid, don’t be discouraged and God will be with you.  

I wasn’t sure why that Bible verse came to mind, but the next morning, behold, there it was in my daily devotional. And I remembered the previous night and how those words spoke to me. These days, where often I feel the emptiness and void of losing my mother, where war is devastating a country, where people are struggling to make ends meet, and where crime is on the rise in many cities… I needed to hear those exact words. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

This Lenten season, in a Marble Church Lenten Bible Study “On the Road to Jerusalem with Jesus for the Last Time” we were reminded that during Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem, he stopped to heal, to encourage, to give hope and life, and especially to “the least of these.” Jesus even opened the physical and spiritual eyes of a beggar (Luke 18) and in doing that, acknowledges his faith has healed him.

Jesus stopped to pray while on his journey. I, too, stop and pray. My prayer is that you and I can be encouraged, emboldened and walk by faith and not in fear. May Jesus, Son of David also open our spiritual eyes and give us the faith we need as we continue the journey into Jerusalem, being mindful of what’s to come… fear included. May we, however, remember that we are never alone in our faith journey — that Jesus, our friend, is always with us.

Sandy Diaz

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