“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 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.”
In 1978, the high wire artist Karl Wallenda fell to his death during a show in San Juan, Puerto Rico. His wife said that, after decades of success by focusing on walking the high wire, Wallenda did something he had never done before. In the three months prior to his death, he became obsessed with not falling. This focus on failure (known in leadership literature as “The Wallenda Factor”) is a form of forgetting, forgetting about what is most important and what is central in one’s work or even in one’s life. (From Michael McNichols, DMin Fuller Theological Seminary)
When we are focused on fear, we lose sight of our trust in God. We stop seeing him for who he is. Like Wallenda, we lose our balance. We forget God’s ordained purpose for us—to trust in Him!
These are fearful times. We may be tempted to make that our focus. You’ve felt that temptation over the last weeks, haven’t you? So have I. Rewind to a time long ago—another fearful time. God asks a “green,” newly appointed leader to lead a rebellious and complaining lot in battle to take land away from its inhabitants.
Look at God’s instructions to Joshua,
·“Be strong and very courageous.” (Do not focus on your fear.)
·Then later, “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night…” (Focus on Me and my Word to you.)
God’s good words to us and for us in fearful times.