Even if the world around us claims differently, often at the top of its lungs, God’s Word contains a wealth of information pertinent to a modern life, to your life. No matter that sometimes my head may spin with the names of rulers and countries I can’t pronounce or that I become uncomfortable with the knowledge of my own sin by reading about the stumbles others have made, reading the Bible ultimately offers me the skills I need to survive in a fallen world. Within God’s Word, I find the verses that keep me hoping, that help me strengthen my faith, when I would otherwise fall into darkness.
To begin this 2019, I’d like to share some of the many verses I’m glad I have read. Whether they help me when I am afraid, are vital to my understanding of my relationship with God, or just plain make me feel good, these verses give me some of the best reasons I could offer for investing time in reading God’s Word.
The first verse I want to share comes from the Old Testament. (Yes, there’s plenty in that book, the Bible Jesus read, that we can apply to our New Testament lives.) In Joshua, God brings to completion the promise He made to Abraham so many generations before, culminating his initial covenant with the Israelites by finally allowing them to enter the Promised Land. Joshua, who replaces Moses as leader of the people, guides Israel in its quest to defeat the native peoples of Canaan and to help the nation disperse the newly conquered land between the tribes of Israel.
But Joshua knows better than anyone that he does not lead alone. In handing Moses’ reign over to the younger man, God tells Joshua,
“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.” — Joshua 1:9
Joshua will need to hold these words close through the years, for, on paper at least, Canaan possesses superior forces and arms. Indeed, time and time again as the story of Joshua unfolds, perhaps in order to prove His power, God’s presence on the side of Israel is the only reason Canaan falls.
But that’s just the bare context of this verse I’m glad I’ve read. This is one of those verses I can lean on whenever I am afraid or tempted to give up. I may not have God with me in a literal tower of fire and light as the tribes of Israel knew Him, dwelling in the tabernacle and leading them through the desert, but what I have I think is even more dear because it came at the ultimate price. The Holy Spirit, the promised gift from Christ that comes to those who repent and believe, dwells in me. The Spirit is always present to guide me, as long as I do my part to be still and listen.
One of the easiest ways to call the power of the Spirit into any given moment is just to call out to Him. Jesus, help me, is such a simple phrase. But when it is spoken in earnestness, you can depend on feeling His immediate presence, helping you to find the peace you need to make it through your current troubles.
Don’t believe me? I don’t expect you to. Test this practice yourself the next time you are feeling particularly low or stressed. Ask Jesus to help you. And in the meantime, stay focused on His Word as much as possible. The more quiet time you spend with God, the more weapons you have when you really need the armor only God’s love can provide.
I hope you already have your own plethora of verses you’re glad you’ve read. Maybe we can share them this 2019 and grow our faith together.