12 Mar Be Strong and Courageous

“Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them.”

-Josh. 1:6

Joshua, now called to fill the giant shoes of Moses, was given these words as he was about to finally cross the borders of the land promised so long ago to Abraham.  The fulfillment of generations of hope was about to be realized.  God had promised to give them this land, but… there was still a fight (many of them actually) awaiting them on the other side of the Jordan.

It is no mysteryto me that God had to repeat the command, “Be strong and courageous” over and over to Joshua.  The children of Israel had been living with God’s promise to give them the land for generations.   But, likewise, they had been living with the fear of the unknown as well.  Faith needed to be demonstrated by action as they crossed the borders into Canaan to face the enemy and his strongholds.

We know the end of the story.  That is the benefit of history and hindsight.  This is no mere history, however.  It is a paradigm for believers who understand that our call is to advance the kingdom of God wherever we are, and that the promises given to Abraham belong to all who are in his line, physically and spiritually.

We are called to take the land for Jesus.  The first step is always to cross over.

Recently my family and I were given clear guidance by the Lord to give notice on our home in Tokyo so that we could move to an area of the city that He is calling our whole base to move into and transform by the power of the Holy Spirit.  To set a date on our move was a clear declaration that we were “crossing the Jordan” and that we were going to face the enemy head on.

Like the story in Joshua, we faced a simple obstacle at the outset.  In Joshua, the Jordan was at flood stage, full and violent.  In our story we met opposition to any housing opening up.  Both required a miraculous “parting of the waters”.  We needed God to stop what was blocking us and provide a clear path.  In the crossing we knew that we were being trained yet deeper in the faithfulness of God.  As we crossed the Jordan, we would gather stones from the riverbed. On the other side we would use those stones to build an altar of remembrance to remind ourselves of God’s faithfulness.  But, we also had a sense that the stones we picked up would be weapons for warfare.

I wish I could say that our faith was unwavering through the whole trial.  Far from it, however, we discovered just how much unbelief was still in our hearts as owner after owner said “no” to our family, and as the final date for our move drew closer and closer.  When we had only two weeks until we had to be out of our previous home, I was called to go speak at a DTS (a commitment that I had made months earlier).  Honestly, I was freaking out.  How could I go when my wife needed me, when nothing was settled, when our kids were about to be homeless?  It just didn’t make sense.

While speaking at the DTS God used the pressure of this trial to reveal two things in me.

1.) As I mentioned before, I found that I had a lot of hidden unbelief.   This is not hard to deal with.  It is a simple matter of repenting of this as sin, and choosing, beyond feelings, to hold on to the promises of God as truth, no matter what the circumstances say.

2.) I also found that I had a core of self love in me that made me want to save my life rather than lose it for Christ’s sake.  What this means simply is that in my heart I wanted comfort not transformation and that I was still holding onto the belief that it was God’s job to make my life easier, not to conform me into his likeness.

Both of these areas would have remained hidden if God had not orchestrated this trial to expose them and bring them to the foot of the Cross.  These unbroken areas would have conspired in my soul to block God’s purposes to transform the nation of Japan through believers who walk boldly in God’s promises and love not their lives, even to the death.

A mere three days before we had to leave our former house, we were given extraordinary favor with a woman owner who allowed us to move into her lovely house.  We were also given ALL the money for moving costs.  God has again proven Himself.

Now as we are moving into yet another DTS, we are finding that the lessons we learned as a family are being applied to our whole base as we move, corporately into the new area of the city.  We face some of the same obstacles, but we know that God is parting the waters.

We are all called to be strong and courageous, because we are called to lead these people to inherit the land God swore to give us.  God has promised.  He will deliver.  We just have to let Him work in us to believe that.

(David McDaniel is the leader of the YWAM Tokyo Op-Loc and the Training Director).

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