… let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
When Moses died, Joshua found himself suddenly the leader of an entire nation. A nation that had yet to enter into its birthright, the promised land. With the entire nation camped on the Eastern side of the Jordan river, Joshua could look across the river and see the impressive city of Jericho rising above the plain. Already ancient, and protected by great walls, according to the biblical narrative, this city had to be conquered before the people of Israel could even think about moving in and possessing the land of promise. So was Joshua given the land on a silver platter? Of course not. He had somehow to train and equip the people. To transition them from life on the road as nomads in the desert, to a life of military conquest and seemingly endless war. What did God promise Joshua?
Joshua 1:9 (NKJV)
9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Joshua had to face the situation, believe, and trust that God would be true to His word and prepare his people for battle. He knew that he had to do whatever it took if they were going to take the land and conquer its peoples. He was tested many times but in the end, they largely succeeded and occupied large portions of the land. They could never rest. Throughout their history, there were invasion attempts from every point of the compass. Midianites from the Sinai Desert to the south. Assyrians from the North. Moabites and Babylonians from the East. Egyptians from the west and south. Philistines from the western coastal cities. Whatever it takes means a lot when the very existence of your country and people are on the line.
During the past week, a number of us have had a harrowing time. There are two of us undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments. These are never easy and the side effects are unpleasant, to say the least. Others face different challenges; it might be dealing with serious medical or physical matters, the consequences of past relationships, or financial difficulties. As a result of the Coronavirus restrictions, many of us are feeling trapped in our homes and missing regular contact with our friends and families. We may also be anxious or fearful about the safety of our families as well as our personal safety. What is our response as believers? Jesus never said that life would be a bed of roses in fact He promised the exact opposite:
John 16:33 (TPT)
… For in this unbelieving world you will experience trouble and sorrows, but you must be courageous, for I have conquered the world!”
It is what He said just before that, that helps us to overcome the difficulties we face every day.
33 And everything I’ve taught you is so that the peace which is in me will be in you and will give you great confidence as you rest in me.
Friends, we do not face these difficulties alone. Jesus has promised to be there with us no matter what challenges we are facing. He has promised that if we abide in Him that we will experience His peace. Jesus rarely had a quiet day. Yet in all the chaos of those Galilean ministry tours, He made sure that He had quiet times to pray and prepare Himself for the day ahead. There is a lesson for us in this as well. If the Son of God needed to get away to spend time alone with God then so do we. It is in the abiding in Him that we draw the strength we need to do whatever it takes to get through the next day. As the Apostle Paul writes: I pray for each one of you and your families, “16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Ephesians 3:16–21 (NKJV)
Let God show you—let God equip you, and let God use you.
 This summary line and the title of the message were borrowed from Bob Gass, Everything in between is mine.
Bob Gass, A Fresh Word For Today : 365 Insights For Daily Living (Alachua, FL: Bridge-Logos Publishers, 1998), 126.