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.
A command is not a suggestion. There is only one way to obey the command to be strong and courageous, and that is to stay in the scary situation.
I remember going in to my parents’ room at night because I was scared to go to bed. I had always shared a room with my sister and by the time we got our own rooms I was in 5th grade, but it was quite an adjustment. I had never gone into their room before because I was scared at night. But with my own big, lonely bedroom every little noise now was not my sister on her side of the room but surely an axe murderer in my closet. At first, my dad was soothing and sweet, but it got old for him really fast. After a few times, he did not go back with me to my room anymore but used firm tones and strict words. It made going into their room at night not a viable option anymore. He told me to be brave and that God is always with me, so there is no reason to be afraid. I had to stay in the situation; I was forced to stay in my room and be brave. And guess what happened? It worked.
No one can do it for me. Like my dad requiring of me for my own good to trust that God is watching over me at night, the only way to have courage is to have to use it. Being taken out of the situation won’t produce strength and courage. But I have experienced that staying in where I am uncomfortable, unsure, and afraid produces amazing results. What would quitting produce?
This is how God speaks to his children at night...
Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.
And I’m glad my dad taught me the same thing.
Thank you for all the simple opportunities you have given me to trust you so that when truly overwhelming circumstances arise I have some kind of muscle memory of really trusting you and having courage backed by your incredible love and faithfulness. Thank you for never ever letting a little girl down at night so that she could grow up with the security of trusting you. Thank you for godly parents and help me to teach my kids to trust you every day too. I love you and thank you and pray in Jesus’ name, amen.