Little drops of water
Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go. —Joshua 1:9
The Lord is with you wherever you go. It is moving to read of the complete and total faith of our ancestors. Moses died, and now the Lord speaks to Joshua. Joshua may not have expected this, and yet he listens. Doubts and fears are calmed because Joshua trusts in the Lord and remembers the Lord is faithful. Now, he is to guide the people into a new life and destiny. These holy words that God speaks to Joshua are not simple encouragement, but a divine declaration of the truth. God is with us. Joshua is then drenched by the waters of courage and strength, for he seeks God.
It is often difficult for many of us in the 21st century to understand the depth of this faith and believe that God speaks today. Yet God’s truth is ever-present, and God is speaking to us in the moment. When we hear these words: “God is with us wherever we go.” Do we believe it? Do we fully submit to the knowledge that God is creating a way forward?
I often imagine God’s presence like an unexpected and driving rainfall. We are outside, caught by surprise, and then left drenched. Yet, what is the first thing we do when we see rainclouds or feel those first drops of rain? We break out the umbrella to avoid getting wet, we jump in the car or run inside. We cannot afford to mess up our hair, clothes, shoes, and all those worldly things.
Yet remember all those instances in our lives when little drops of water from the eternal Holy One have fallen on our prayers. They have nourished new growth when least expected. Those drops of divine new life allowed gardens to bloom in fields we did not know existed. All comes from God; through God's will and God's blessings.
Joshua must have felt a bit dismayed, anxious, and fearful as he began to take those first steps across the Jordan. He probably could not have visualized the breadth of land that God described nor the unforeseen challenges ahead. They were most likely the same feelings and emotions we feel as we plan these next steps into our phased reopening. Yet Joshua listened and trusted. One step at a time, one prayer at a time with the One God who is with us wherever we go. Joshua understood that life in God is not an even path, life in God overcomes whatever obstacles may arise. 'Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord, your God will be with you wherever you go."
In this reality that we are journeying through, despite our declarations of faith, at times, we plan ahead and not always fully embrace the divine truth. We like to control and submit not to God, but instead fall prey to worry, cynicism, and doubt. We act as if we know what we need, what the church needs. Only the Holy One knows. God knows better than we know ourselves. St. Theresa of Avila wrote: A humble heart is content with what is given it, and does not expect special favors as though they were a right.
We must give everything to God. In the presence of the Lord is found beauty, grace, wonder, and life. As powerful as the storm and light as the dew. A place that we never want to leave. When the world, our duties, and obligations pull us away, we need to run back like a deer to the water brook and our souls should long for God. Let us quench that longing through adoration and prayer. The pure heart's prayer always awakens love, as these prayers filled with mysticism and passion.
Place God at the center of all things and everything. Abandon whatever wall or veil that separates you from the holy presence. Step out in the driving thunderstorm of the divine waters of life and be consumed. We are at the banks of the river, a new land is awaiting. Live by faith, lean into the Holy One, walk by patience. Take those steps with strength and courage for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. A heart filled with God will always find the truth.