Dr. Elizabeth Jackson
Two of the most commonly used phrases in Christendom when comforting people in crisis are, “Be Strong and Be Encouraged!”
These short and simple affirmations are far more than suggestive exhortations; they are direct commands from the creator of the universe. These were the words spoken by God to Joshua, the young Israelite general, during a time of intense difficulty in his life. Joshua was mourning the loss of his friend and mentor, Moses. He became discouraged and couldn’t find the strength to move on. Joshua documented the full account of their interaction in his book.
Joshua 1:1-2, 9 (AMP)
Now it happened after the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, that the Lord spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ servant, saying, “Moses My servant is dead; now, therefore, arise (get up and keep going), cross over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land which I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not be terrified or dismayed (intimidated), for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
God knew how Joshua felt—He knew his emotionally and mentally state. He knew that he may have felt depressed and unsociable at that moment. When God ordered Joshua to "Be Strong", He was intentionally pulling him out of his anguish and despair.
Joshua mourned way beyond the allotted time required by the Levitical Law, which was thirty days for dignitaries. (Deuteronomy 34:8)
God acknowledged the source of Joshua’s pain, which was Moses’ death. But, despite his loss, God ordered him to ARISE, and move forward! He was teaching Joshua how to push past his pain. He was also teaching him that the only way to get over grief is to move through it, not sit in it. As long as Joshua kept pushing forward, the pain of grief would eventually subside.
God sees where you are, He understands how you feel. He sends His Word to encourage you. He speaks to you based on where He’s taking you, not based on your current conditions. He doesn’t respond to your perception of the situation, He response solely upon what He knows.
God tells you, “Be strong—when you are feeling weak. Be rich—even when you are financially deficient. Be heal—even though you’re feeling the woes of sickness in your body. He says you're forgiven—during a time when you are feeling undeserving of forgiveness.”
In those moments, God is not speaking to your fears, failures, worries or weaknesses. He is speaking directly to your spirit. He is speaking to your future and saying, "I see you on the other side of this trial, and you look better there than you do right here!"
No matter what you’re going through today, God is with you, and He says, “Be Strong!”
Deuteronomy 31:6 (NLT)
“So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord, your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”