Last year, COVID-19 spread quickly throughout the entire world, with the United States one of the countries most affected. June 8 marks the day we reopened our attractions here at the Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter in 2020. As we reflect on the past year, pastor Mark Etter calls us to gather our courage to continue to minister to those without Christ.
Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. (Joshua 1:6)
The Promised Land was right before the people of Israel. What had just been an abstract promise before was so real that they could almost touch it. There was a catch, however. They had to be willing to go and claim the land in the name of the Lord. God made a significant promise to Joshua. He promised to go with him just as he went with Moses (Joshua 1:5), doing miracles and fighting their battles. Interestingly, God never explained how he would do these great acts or take this new land for them. God expected Joshua to believe and to get moving. Faith was necessary for miracles to happen. Timid people accomplish little. Joshua was to be strong and courageous, and the heart of that strength would be his faith.
The pandemic is winding down, and there are plenty of challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for the church. Like Joshua, we will need to step out in faith. We will have to move into new territories and do things that we have never done before. We can’t just sit and wait. We can’t moan about the hardships the last year has brought. The promises that the Lord makes to his people in the Bible are overwhelming. As a church, we need to look for them and believe in them. We need to trust that God will be with us (Matthew 28:20). We need to believe that we can move mountains in God’s name (Matthew 17:20). Our Lord sends us to do his work believing in his power (John 20:21). As we see opportunities, we need to see what God can do and not what we are able to do.
Having received the call from the Lord, Joshua encouraged the people to believe in the Lord as well (Joshua 1:11). Yes, the river was swollen, and the cities were fortified. None of that mattered because God was bigger than their problems. Instead of asking questions or worrying, the people were told to get ready because God was about to do something great. When God is prepared to do something great in our day, we need to be ready for it. Look for the opportunities that he is ready to send. Organize your resources and be ready when he calls. Pledge to follow the Lord as the people of Israel did (Joshua 1:16). A generation died in the desert because they did not believe in the Lord, but Joshua’s generation was ready to take up the challenge.
The future is upon us. We are at our own Jordan River, and God has a plan. Let us go forward, trusting in him, forever confident of his direction and victory.