Variations on a Theme

This story might require a little background. Perhaps someday I will write my whole story of faith, but today, we’ll go with just what you need to know to understand the story. I grew up in a non-Christian home, celebrating Christmas and Easter, but not knowing the significance of the Biblical narrative. I came to know Christ in college which meant that during the times when I was making some of the most important decisions of my life, I was relying on an immature faith. Now I’m not going to claim to have reached any pinnacles of spiritual enlightenment, but my faith has certainly deepened in the last few years, and this is just a small piece of that story.

Four years ago I spent many hours sitting on the same bed I am sitting on now, worrying about what the future would hold. I was graduating from graduate school, the reality of quickly encroaching student loans was settling upon me. I spent hours flipping through my Bible, hoping for a verse that would quell my fears. Now, I’ve never been particularly good at praying, or allowing my worry to cease, but I did find a verse that I clung to during those months of uncertainty. The verse came from Joshua, and it read:

Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9)

I took such comfort in that verse. I loved the certainty of knowing that wherever I ended up, God would go with me there and I took comfort in the fact that even if I made a wrong decision, in the end, it would be okay because God promised to be with me. Over the last few years, I have continued to find comfort in that verse. Knowing that God is with me has helped me through some difficult times, even when I have fear that I am somehow in the “wrong” place.

This fall was an amazing time of growing in my faith. I was regularly reading my Bible, and regularly trying to communicate with God in prayer even if I still failed to turn over my worry. I yearned for that time with the Lord, and I loved the certainty of knowing I could turn to Him all day every day. Of course though, as my journey of faith has often gone, I fell away all too quickly, and returned to feeling too busy to check in with God each day.

Recently though, as life begins to get more uncertain, and I find myself struggling to make decisions that could affect the next few years of my life, I felt that yearning to spend time with Jesus again. Today, I finally answered that call and turned to my One Year Bible, which I hadn’t read since March 7, to find the Bible reading for the day. I didn’t get more than half a page into it though because I quickly stumbled upon that all too familiar verse.

Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

I took new comfort in that verse this morning, and thought of what a sweet gift that was that this morning, I would turn to that Bible and seemingly by chance find that verse. I needed to hear that reminder, and I’ve been longing to know that I can’t screw up this decision forever because in truth, no matter where I am, God is there and if I am rooting my life in Him, I will be okay.

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