How many times have you heard that kind of statement? Maybe someone said it to “encourage” you when you were facing an exceptionally tough situation. Or maybe it was you who said it hoping to “bless” someone else. I know it’s usually intended as positive inspiration to push forward and not to give up… A kind of “one size fits all” affirmation that says if you just dig in with all your might and don’t quit, you can overcome whatever you’re facing. But is that really the right sort of thing for believers to say, or even believe… that you or I can rally ourselves enough to eventually “do” whatever “it” is?
I think if we learn anything from life, it’s that there are some things that we clearly can NOT do. We don’t have the strength, know-how, expertise or experience to get the job done on our own. And even if we have all the necessary skills, we don’t have all the information nor all the details to always bring our situations together in the right way or on the schedule we would prefer.
That was definitely Joshua’s plight. Most of Bible readers have heard about his battle at Jericho, but that’s only the most famous of the dozens of kingdoms that were slated to be conquered across the Jordan River. (Joshua 12) Joshua was tasked with subduing, and/or destroying all those territories with only an ill-trained band of former desert dwellers. It was an impossible scenario that seemed doomed to failure… that is, except for one key factor – the faithfulness of God!
When God commissioned Joshua for this assignment, He never once spoke about the talent, power or accomplishments of Joshua. The Lord didn’t give him good marks in leadership on his last annual review or nominate him for best warrior status. In fact, He didn’t say a single thing about the ability of Joshua or his soldiers. While Israel’s new leader was clearly directed to be “strong and courageous,” (vs 6-9) he wasn’t supposed to muster up that determination from within himself. God prefaced this daunting command with a promise of His strength and His unending presence. He said, “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.” – Joshua 1:5
In the New Testament, Jesus made that promise more personal when sent the Holy Spirit to live within His followers. He says in John 14:16-17 – “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, … He abides with you and will be in you.”
Today, when we know that we are in God’s will, doing that which He has commanded, we often face what seem to be impossible situations. In those times, we can believe and trust that God is with us, (Jos. 1:5) God is in us (Jn 14:17) and God is for us! (Rom. 8:31)
Since we have limited sight and often stunted perspective, things may not always turn out the way we intend or foresee. We may even be stunned by what seems like failure or overwhelmed by apparentdefeat, but as believers in Christ, God’s faithfulness is our promise too! And we can confidently know that we are never, never, never alone!
So yes, we can keep going and we don’t have to give up, but not because we can do it. We persevere and endure knowing that even when our strength and ability fails, His never will.