October 25, 2010

To Live is Christ — in confidence

At a Christian women’s conference, the auditorium was nearly full, but most of the women were sitting in the back rows. The song leader bounced into the room and started a rousing version of “Anywhere with Jesus” that includes the line “Anywhere with Jesus I will safely go.”

When we finished singing, he called out, “Do you believe that?” The women said, “Yes.” What else could we say? He asked again, and then a third time, getting louder with each request, and getting a louder response. Then he said, “If you believe you can safely go anywhere with Jesus, I want all of you in the back rows to come up and sit in the front.”

It was funny, but it stuck in my mind as an important truth. It popped up again today as I read my devotional verse . . . 

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 1:9)
Joshua had just taken over leadership of Israel from his mentor, Moses. This was a big job and this man was probably feeling weak and dismayed. I would have been. However, God reminded him of His promises and His presence. Joshua could go anywhere since God was with him.

Most Christians grab and hold unto a promise like this when they are in a challenging situation. When we have big problems, like Joshua, we turn to our big God. This is the way faith should be — it rises to the occasion, at least to the big occasions. However, that challenge at the women’s conference is my reminder that faith is also about the little things.

I used to resist making phone calls, especially to a business. They made me feel uncomfortable. Anywhere with Jesus? I don’t like driving at night and would rather stay home. Anywhere with Jesus? I’ve had problems with dentists and lately have felt anxious about going back to have my teeth taken care of. Anywhere with Jesus?

If what I believe is only for the big things, what does that say about God? Is He only interested in helping me when I’m backed into a corner by lions, or falling off a cliff? Some think so. They don’t want to “bother” God about things they can handle themselves, or at least things they think they can handle.

I don’t agree. Jesus said that if a sparrow fell to the ground, God knows it. He said that God knows the number of the hairs on our heads. In my mind, God is very interested in details. He cares if I am self-conscious, or nervous at night, or if I feel weak in the knees. He is interested in my littlest fears, those small things that may not bother others. He cares if I am embarrassed, or stressed, or if I need to drive downtown on icy streets.

God told Joshua that he could be strong, courageous and fearless because He was with him wherever he went. God offers me the same challenge and promise. Because of a good-humored song leader, I have given this much thought and am convinced that the Bible verses and the words of that song are true. My heart might pound or my throat might get dry, but because Jesus is with me, I also can go anywhere He wants me to go.

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