It’s a verse I’ve heard all my life. It’s a verse that many of you could probably rattle off your tongue. It’s a verse of encouragement.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
~ Deuteronomy 31:6, NIV
Words of Strength. Power. Confidence. Words of Hope and Faithfulness.
But, tonight I was reading them again – this time in The Message paraphrase. I was left speechless by a different visual, a different kind of empowerment than I’d ever felt in reading that verse before. Listen:
“Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t give them a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you.”
~ Deuteronomy 31:6, The Message
Did you catch it? No?
Let’s try again, just another verse down. Listen closely:
“Be strong. Take courage. … God is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t worry.”
~ Deuteronomy 31:7b-8, The Message
Did you hear it this time?
….. not passive … active! And then even more, God is STRIDING AHEAD of you. He’s not just WITH you, dear friend. He’s striding ahead of you. I have this instant picture of walking down a crazy path with all kind of obstacles – branches hanging in front of me, rocks there to stumble over. And yet my loving Savior is a few paces ahead of me, holding the branches out of the way and kicking the rocks off the path. Oh, don’t think I live in a dream world … the path isn’t clear and I may well stumble. But in that very instant that I stumble, my ever-vigilant, ever-protective Savior is beside me, firmly grasping me to keep me upright, to keep me moving forward.
Sometimes life’s path leaves us feeling uncertain, even tentative in our every day lives. We may be faced with an unexpected trial – or we may embrace a new challenge or goal that leaves us slightly shaky on our feet.
The past 3-4 months have been a time like that for me. I resolved to make some positive changes in my life (you can read more about it here: Becoming Less, Embracing More). It’s been a fantastic journey – but it’s been a tough one, too. I truly had to depend fully on God and take courage into those first few steps … Because I didn’t have it in me on my own.
In the weeks since, I’ve been so amazed to watch how He has constantly refreshed that courage in His magnificent ways: an encouraging word, an accomplishment, whatever it may be, He is right there with me in every moment.
And He’s with you, too, my friend. In every single moment.