“Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous . . . “ Joshua 1:5-6 (NAS)
Right. I’ve had to be the strong one all my life.
Only be strong and very courageous . . ." Joshua 1:7 (NAS)
I don't want to be strong anymore.
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not tremble or be
dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9 (NAS)
Stop telling me to be strong. Don't you get what I've been through?
The above comments were the honest responses of a young woman. During the reading of the story in Joshua, chapter 1, years of deep pain, abandonment, and lonely survival focused her hearing on the words "be strong." They were hard words to take in. She was weary.
In the weariness, God's other words were missed.
"I will be with you."
"I will not fail you or forsake you."
"Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."
When we've been hurt by others we thought we could depend on, it’s hard to trust again. The heart shuts tight its doors and bars love’s attempts. The resistance sweeps wide. God’s love, so real and healing, is even suspect. Dependence on him is shrouded not only by weariness but also wariness.
Dependence. It's often shunned in our culture. We're not supposed to need anyone. When we hold tight to that and convince ourselves we have to be strong on our own, we only increase our loneliness and pain. But we are created for a beautiful dependence on Him who longs to be our strength.
I read the following in the current issue of Discipleship Journal:
"Dependence doesn't mean that I am less than something, but rather that I am made for something. That space in my soul that I have so desperately tried to eliminate is a God-shaped vacuum . . . We must believe that dependency doesn't diminish our dignity; it is our dignity."
Discipleship Journal, September/October, 2008, Declaration of Dependence, by Roger Edwards
The young woman I spoke of above is beginning to see that she doesn't have to be strong on her own, and that it isn't a weakness to embrace dependency on God. She's opening her heart and learning to trust his love for her. She's smiling and laughing more often, believing in a different future for herself.
It's beautiful to watch the petals of her life, once closed tight, unfold.