I loved this story on the news the other day of a man in New York who was the recipient of an anonymously donated pizza. Inside the cover were written the words, “Stay strong,” the very words his wife daily said to him while dying of cancer. He told the pizzeria manager that this simple message “turned his life around” and pulled him out of a deep depression.
Today’s verse is an encouragement from the Lord to Joshua that inspired him be strong. Joshua had just taken over the enormous task of leading the Israelites after the death of Moses. Joshua needed this assurance that the Lord’s presence would give him strength and courage. There is a subtle difference between the words,”stay strong ” and “be strong.” The first implies that strength is already there in some measure and should continue. For Joshua at the death of his friend and leader, he had no strength or courage. Not only was the charge overwhelming, but he must have felt alone and sad with Moses gone.
I absolutely have no strength without the Lord. Whatever strength I have comes from Him. Paul recognized this when he said to be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power (Eph. 6:10). I need His strength especially when losing a family member or friend. I need this same reassurance that He will be with me and give me all the courage and strength to face the future. Of course there is sadness, but I do not need to feel discouraged. He is there and will get me through.
Thank you Lord, for the strength You give.