A couple of weeks ago I took my kids to the local amusement park. I love roller-coasters, and it took a lot of prodding to get my daughter to finally go on the roller-coasters a number of years ago but now she loves to ride them. My son has always had an excuse not to ride with us; he was not tall enough to ride the bigger roller-coasters. This month he is turning 10 and is now big enough to ride on all the rides; good for me but not so good for him. We arrived at “The Dragon.”

It has a big drop and two loops, while going at a high rate of speed. My son has ridden the regular coasters but never one with loops. As we raced to get in line, my son was not as energetic to get there. He looked up through the line and caught a glimpse of the loops and fear overcame him. His little face turned white and tears were forming in his eyes. I asked him what was wrong and he said, “I know that I am going to love it, but right now I am scared.” He looked at the ride he has never been on and knew everything was going to be fine, but the fear of the unknown left him apprehensive about riding. Aren’t we all apprehensive about the unknown? In decisions both big and small, when there is an unknown factor there is bound to be some fear. Can we ever get to the point where it can be a confident apprehension?

We are starting a new message series this weekend called “Be Strong and Courageous: Lessons from the Book of Joshua.” Joshua is the new leader for Israel after the 40 years of wandering. Moses was the last leader. He was a staple in their community for a long time and now there is a new leader. Will the people follow Joshua or will they resist his leadership? The people of Israel were supposed to headed into the promise land, but it wouldn’t be without its challenges. Did the people learn to trust in God through the wanderings or are they the same people just in a different time? Joshua and the people were full of questions, questions that had unknown answers. Joshua is assured of some great promises right away in this first chapter. The promise of victory over every enemy. The promise of the presence and power of God. The promise of the faithfulness of God. The promise of absolute victory. The promise of God to keep His promises. God assured Joshua of all these things but do you think the fear was gone? I don’t think so! In chapter one alone God tells Joshua five times in different ways to be strong and courageous. Would God say that to a man who was confident? But through God’s promises, it is interesting to note that later on in the book Joshua orders the people to get ready to cross the Jordan before he sends the spies into the land! That is confidence in God’s promises, even though apprehension of the unknown is present.

There are times in life when we face some major challenges. It may not be conquering a land with a group of people who are not soldiers, but wanderers – yet we can feel as ill-equipped when the doctor starts telling us how we have to care for our aged parent, when we find out the retirement account is gone, or that our child has an addiction or any numerous issues that challenge us. The same promises that were with Joshua in battle are with us when we are going through our battles. Romans 8:28 is often quoted but still remains true:

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

We can have a confidence that flows from the work that we know that God is doing. Does it mean that our apprehension will be gone? No, but it can be a confident apprehension. Maybe you have been like my son and said something like, “I know it is going to be good, but right now I am little scared.” In those moments don’t rely on your own power or confidence but trust in the One who promises to be with us through the pain and in the joys. His promises are always true!

What in your life right now are you apprehensive about? Is that apprehension keeping you from confidence? Have you spent a lot of time worrying before taking it to God? What can you do today to be confident?

Look forward to hearing from you as we have a conversation about apprehension and confidence.

Have a great day!