❝I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.❞ Joshua 1:9
Reflection by Troy Spicer
In thinking about this passage from Joshua, where God is encouraging Joshua to trust God’s presence and strength, this painting of a Dominican Friar came to mind. The Dominican Order is often represented in art with images of dogs, Domini Canis – God’s Dogs, representing their Rule of Life to be brave, trusting, loyal, and obedient, just like dogs.
God is speaking in this passage to Joshua and is clear in his encouragement – if you trust and stick with me, you do not have to be afraid or discouraged. This is good news for me as I go through my typical, routine, and boring day. Easy instructions to follow. Easy instructions to follow for most of us, right? Wrong!
The easiest advice to “simply trust” is, in truth, some of the hardest advice for me to follow. Trust means loss of control. I have requirements, aspirations, and expectations that rely on a strong sense of personal power to achieve. Trust? OK. I’ll try it. It has to be as simple as checking off a box. “Of course I trust God.” Check. Done. Finished.
In fact, it is not finished. I am not finished. The way I often look at the world, the way I often look at other people, and even the way I look at God (most of the time) as means to be used toward an end . . .not good. It affects my relationships with people and blunts my relationship with God. I really need to work on this.
Gracious God, who promises strength, courage and peace, help me this Advent continually to remember your presence and grace in my life, that I might rely less on myself and trust more on you and, thereby, grow in service to you and others, to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ. Amen.