"Be strong and of a good courage"

Posted by Kathy Ridpath (NC) on Friday, 27 March 1998, at 2:59 p.m.

Dear friends,

Do you ever feel discouraged, whether it has to do with your teaching, your parenting, your life, your walk with the Lord? I know I do. The past two months have been filled with some disappointments, sad events, and unexpectedly tense circumstances. During all of this I *thought* I was trusting God, turning it all over to Him. I *thought* I was putting on a brave front, being there for others, praying for them, encouraging them, shrugging it all off. Instead, I really was weak, discouraged, ineffective, and trying to do it all on my own.

It just so happens (okay, we all know the Lord *planned* this) that Elisabeth Elliot has been discussing "Discouragement" this week and what a powerful message she had! One day she even read a letter from a homeschool mom ...

"My prayer request is for direction, hope and rest. I am a home-schooling mother of four children. One is a year old. These days, I am unsure if I should still be home schooling because I fail so often to handle the stress from the many demands on my time. As badly as I want it to work, often I end up angry and discouraged. I have no time to myself. Inside, I'm falling apart. I pray, but I seldom see real answers from the Lord. Sometimes I find myself wondering if He's even there at all."

Does this sound familiar to anyone here? I have to admit that I made my day even tougher recently when I chose to read the "anti-homeschooling" article in _The New Republic_. This was especially tough on me because I have friends and relatives who read this and are looking for ways to discourage us in our homeschooling decision.

But to all that discouragement, I was ENCOURAGED to remember the words the Lord spoke to Joshua, "Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest." (Josh 1:9)

"Have not I commanded thee?" ... WOW! What more do we need as a reminder that the Lord has led us to teach our own children and that homeschooling is His will for our family. Just imagine instead of a government official showing up on your doorstep to inspect your homeschool, the Lord knocking and saying, "Have not I commanded thee?"

Next, Josh 1:9 says, "Be strong" ... The past two months I have felt so weak, physically and emotionally weak. It was hard to get up out of bed (although I did), I sighed at "all" the things I had to do and face, I was constantly exhausted, cooking a meal was a major deal, having to correct a bad behavior took every bit of energy out of me ... I think you get the idea. Discouragement steals our strength. I think one way it does is because we have to work SO HARD when we are discouraged. We know that Jesus told us, "For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." - Matt 11:30

Our strength does not have to come from lifting weights (thankfully *grin*).

It comes from the Lord ... "Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and *he* shall strengthen thine heart." - Psa 27:14

It also comes from others. Amy Carmichael wrote, "At the completion of the reading of any of the books of Moses in the synagogue, it was the custom for the congregation to exclaim, 'Be strong, be strong, and let us strengthen one another!' In like manner, when we see others under the enemy's attack, let us brace and strengthen them." Isn't that the neatest picture of people strengthening each other!!??

And it comes from ourselves (through the Lord), "David encouraged himself in the LORD his God." - 1 Sam 30:6

Josh 1:9 also says, "and of a good courage" ... This week in her program Elisabeth Elliot said, "What does it mean to take up the cross daily? It means, quite simply, accepting small duties which are distasteful to you. Put your shoulder under that cross. Take it up and start walking and you will be amazed at how the strength of the Lord will carry you through that day. It is amazing. Your courage will be restored."

If you are feeling discouraged or worried, do not be!! Yes, you may still *feel* the discouragement or worry, but determine to not *be*. Be strong and of a good courage. Do a search in your Bible for times when there was the temptation to be discouraged and how the Lord or others spoke the reminder "to be strong and of a good courage". And remember the rest of Josh 1:9 "be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest." The Lord thy God *IS* with you wherever you go!!


P.S. Has anyone else been following Elisabeth Elliot's radio broadcast this week on "Discouragement"? What a powerful message she has had! If you are interested in reading it, you can read all five days by following these links:






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