I was asked recently to speak on Courage. More specifically, I was asked to speak on the 2010 Young Women Young Men Mutual Theme:
“Be strong and of a good courage. Be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed; for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest” (Joshua 1:9)
It is ironic that I would be asked to speak on courage given my speaking history. When I was 14, I attended a youth conference. The following Sunday, my bishop called me out of the audience to comment on my youth conference experience. I went up to the stand and stood at the pulpit and looked out at the ward. I kept standing there, not saying a word, for long enough that my friend got up out of her chair, walked up to the stand and gave a glowing report of youth conference. After she spoke, she looked at me and said, “do you have anything to add?” I shook my head no and went back to my seat.
So courage and speaking have not always gone hand-in-hand for me.
Although, because of my fears and history, speaking on courage was a perfect opportunity for me. In fact, being in a situation that required me to lean on the Lord as Joshua did, was another opportunity for the Lord to show He was “with [me] withersoever [I went].”
I love this scripture! I love to think about Joshua. Moses was the leader and Joshua was the helper for 40 years all the way from escaping Egypt to the Jordan River. I love to be the helper; I find it way more fun to help all you can rather than to lead, to hear complaints and to be responsible.
So at this point in Joshua's story, Moses has died and the Lord spoke to Joshua and told him to “go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give them.” This was the promised land that they had been awaiting for 40 years. This was everything Moses had worked for and that Joshua had helped him work toward.
Can you imagine the intimidation and fear Joshua must have had at this time as he stood there looking out over the river Jordan? Joshua was the new leader. His mentor was gone. And the Lord wanted him to start his new job by taking on this monstrous task.
There were so many unknowns. Joshua didn't know for sure what awaited him and the Children of Israel in the promised land. Would there be a war? Would his people die? Would his people revolt against him? Would he die? And if the children of Israel were anything like my family, maybe just getting them gathered together and ready to march was daunting enough.
The Lord's words to Joshua are beautiful, comforting and one of the best locker-room pep talks one could have:
“There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. Be strong and of a good courage...”
He promised Joshua that if he meditated on the word of the Lord and observed to do all therein, that Joshua's way would be propserous and that he would have success. Then the Lord reiterated:
“Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”
I think I could do just about anything after a pep-rally like that. We too have been promised that the Lord will be with us, if we keep His commandments and if we exercise faith in Him.
continues in PART TWO