[The Lord] will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Deuteronomy 31:8
Annie Johnson Flint was crippled by severe arthritis just a few years after high school. She never walked again and relied on others to help care for her needs. Because of her poetry and hymns, she received many visitors, including a deaconess who felt discouraged about her own ministry. When the visitor returned home, she wrote to Annie, wondering why God allowed such hard things in her life.
In response, Annie sent a poem: “God hath not promised skies always blue, / flower-strewn pathways all our lives through. . . .” She knew from experience that suffering often occurred, but that God would never abandon those He loves. Instead, He promised to give “grace for the trials, help from above, / unfailing sympathy, undying love.” You may recognize that poem as the hymn “What God Hath Promised.”
Moses also suffered and faced strife, but He knew God’s presence was with him. When he passed his leadership of the Israelites to Joshua, he told the younger man to be strong and courageous, because “the Lord your God goes with you” (Deuteronomy 31:6). Moses, knowing that the people of Israel would face formidable enemies as they entered and took the promised land, said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged” (v. 8).
Disciples of Christ will face hardship, but we have God’s Spirit to encourage us. He’ll never leave us.
When you endure trials, how do you trust in God? How could you share your stories of His faithfulness with others?
Heavenly Father, when I’m feeling discouraged and distressed, please remind me through Your Spirit that You’ll never leave me.
As the Israelites were preparing to enter the promised land, Moses wouldn’t be leading them (Deuteronomy 31:2–3). Why? At Meribah, when God told him to speak to a rock so that water would pour from it, Moses disobeyed by striking the rock instead (Numbers 20). The result was the same, but the problem was Moses was so angry at the bickering people that he made it appear that he and Aaron were responsible for bringing water from the rock. As he struck the rock, he declared: “Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?” (v. 10). Because Moses “did not trust in [God] enough to honor [Him] as holy in the sight of the Israelites” (v. 12), he wasn’t allowed to enter the promised land.