You may feel like running when your circumstances loom larger than you. Whatever that looks like. I know I was faced with yet another situation where the odds seemed insurmountable. And then I remembered Joshua. And others. God’s kids aren’t meant to run away. Here are 4 examples of God in the midst of a fearsome mess.
The Midianites have taken over Israel for the last 7 years. God shows up and calls Gideon “Mighty warrior”. I’m pretty sure Gideon doesn’t feel like it. In fact, he feels like the lowest of the low because he’s from the weakest clan, the runt of the litter and he’s hiding in a winepress to make dinner. But still, God tells him to fight and to have courage because He will be with Gideon. Eventually, Gideon leads the Israelites to victory over Midian. But not in his own strength. And not that of his tiny army which in the end only numbers 300. But in God’s strength through him.
Joseph is my personal favorite. His brothers sold him into slavery. He might have been spoiled and lacked emotional intelligence (bragging to his older brothers about his dream that the brothers bowed down to him) but he didn’t deserve to be sold into slavery. Eventually, Joseph becomes the steward of all the resources in Egypt for Pharaoh. When famine hits and his brothers need food, Joseph is in a position to help. In the end, what his brothers’ meant for harm, God used to save the nation of Israel.
When Moses died, Joshua was next in line to lead the people. It was a role he asked for repeatedly. God tells Joshua to get going to the Land God is giving his people. It was a huge land with many peoples to be driven out so the Israelites could claim it. A daunting calling. Joshua had exhibited great courage before in spying out the land of the giant Canaanites. Even so, God exhorts him, “Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged, for I am with you.”
When Abraham lied to Abimelech, King of Gerar, that Sarah was his sister, rather than his wife, Abimelech took her for his wife or harem. She didn’t run. And God protected Sarah by shutting down every womb in Abimelech’s household on account of Sarah. (Genesis 20) Abimelech gave her back.
In every single case, the situation seems impossible. But it isn’t fear that should drive us because in every single case, God works it for good.
God’s children may wander. Moses and the Israelites spent 40 years in the desert.
They may be thrown into the furnace (Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego) or sold into slavery (Joseph).
They may even be killed….like Jesus.
But they do not run. So don’t run. Stand your ground and look for God.
“Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall, but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:30-31)
“I lift up my eyes to the mountains. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121: 1-2)
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
[Special note: If you are in an abusive situation or your life is in danger, please get out and get help, both human and divine.]