Finishing and Starting
Updated: Aug 5, 2022
“Be strong and very courageous…” (Joshua 1:7)
It seems like everywhere I look, something is wrapping up and something else is beginning. Caleb played his final baseball game last week. Sarah and Hannah have their last gymnastics class next week. Kari and the kids (and thousands of other students and teachers) are days away from The Last Day Of School! I only have a few days left on a big consulting project at Microsoft that has taken a ton of time (and been pretty fun).
There are also lots of beginnings. Most important – of course – is the start of summer vacation. (Side note: Don’t you think everyone should get a couple months off in the summer?) I’ll also be launching a new audio podcast in the next few weeks. Being “graduation week,” there are so many young adults around us who are, in a sense, finishing their adolescence, and starting their adult life. This is a huge time for them!
As I was thinking about this, I was reminded of the scene in Joshua 1 when the Israelites are at the biggest ending/beginning in their history. They have been miraculously freed from slavery and led out of Egypt. They are standing on the bank of the Jordan River about to cross over into the Promised Land. They are ending 40 years of wandering and beginning a new life in a new place. At this important crossroads, God says these words to Joshua:
Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:7-9, NLT)
Oftentimes, finishing one thing and starting another leads to uneasiness (at best) or feeling paralyzed (at worst). And yet, two different times – three if you include verse 6 – God’s charge is to be strong and courageous. How do we do that?
IT STARTS WITH INTENTIONAL FOCUS.
We can choose to focus on the circumstances of the change, or we can focus on the “Book of Instruction” and the Author himself. On the events that disrupt our lives, or the One who promises life to the full (John 10:10). On the fear of the unknown, or the One who casts out fear. As we “meditate on it day and night” we will not only be more equipped to live into the truths of His Word, but we will be more aware of the presence of the Living Word. Which leads me to…
CONSTANT AWARENESS OF GOD’S PRESENCE.
Our world is so noisy. All too often we forget that the God who led the Israelites – not to mention created and sustains everything! – is with us wherever we go. He is here now. He is guiding now. He is protecting now. He is comforting now. And He always will be – now…forever.
Alongside, Keith Keith can be reached via email here.