I'm currently reading through the book of Joshua. It's one of my favorite books (and not just because the whole Josh and the Big Wall thing). I love how it displays God' unending faithfulness. I love how even when the people doubt, he is a God that is willing to give second chances. I love how God is a faithful God that stays true to his promises. While these two themes are also illustrated in my other two favorite books- Ruth and Esther- Joshua has a special place in my heart (even with all the violence and gory stuff). Theres just something different about the way Joshua talks about God showing his faithfulness- and that difference is what I've needed to read this weekend.
The Lord Keeps His Promises
So the Lord gave to Israel all the Land he had sworn to give to their ancestors, and they took possession of it and settled there. And the Lord gave them rest on every side, just as he had solemnly promised their ancestors. None of their enemies could stand against them, for the Lord helped them conquer all enemies. Not a single one of all of the good promises the Lord had given to the family of Israel was left unfulfilled; everything he had spoken came true. -Joshua 21: 43-45
Prayer is a powerful thing.
On the day the Lord gave the Israelites victory over the Amorites, Joshua prayed to the Lord in front of all the people of Israel. He said, "Let the sun stand still over Gibeon, and the moon over the valley of Aijalon." So, the sun stood still and the moon stayed in place until the nation of Israel had defeated its enemies. Is this even not recorded in the Book of Jashar? The sun stayed in the middle of the sky and it did not set as on a normal day. There has never been a day like this one before or since, when the Lord answered such a prayer. Surely the Lord fought for Israel that day! -Joshua 10: 12-14
Sarah Young writes on this beautifully in Jesus Calling when she writes (as from the voice of God),
I want you to know how safe and secure you are in My Presence. That is a fact, totally independent of your feelings...You are never separated from Me, though you must see Me through the eyes of faith. I will walk with you till the end of time, and onward into eternity.
Although My Presence is a guaranteed promise, that does not necessarily change your feelings. When you forget I am with you, you may experience loneliness or fear. It is through awareness of My Presence that Peace displaces negative feelings.
That was what I had been needing to hear. Through the stories of Joshua and the reminders from God, I got through the night. I found a calming peace that reassured me that it was all going to work out and be okay. Yes, there may be times of challenge. There may be times of fear or loneliness. But, even then, God is near and he is with me.
This morning, I had my first day at the church I will be working at this summer. I got the opportunity to meet those staff members, parents, volunteers, and students. I'm excited about what God is going to do this summer. I'm excited to see him transform these students lives and radically change this ministry so that it can become even better. Even though this Presbyterian style of worship is a little different for this Methodist girl, I'm slowly learning the words. I'm learning the liturgy (and there is something powerful in this tradition). I'm learning the page numbers for the songs in the hymnal (and the places where words are slightly changed). I have a good feeling about this summer. I really, really do!
Before I end this, I want to share two specific ways that you can pray for me specifically right now, this week.
1. Pray for me to get comfortable in my new surroundings. It's so strange to be this far from my family. I miss them. Pray for me now to get homesick. In addition, I'm still not super comfortable driving around town (I only know a few roads), so pray that I don't get lost (and that if/when I do, I can remain calm and find my way again).
2. Pray for my ministry. Pray that I can break down the walls that hold me back so that I can have a transparent relationship with these girls. Pray that I can find the line of "how much is too much" when it comes to sharing. Pray that I can become more comfortable around the other youth staff so that we can better serve together.