Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
Friday, we had a retreat coming out to the Agape Dome. If you have been to the Agape Dome then you understand, if not then to help explain, it is our home but it also sleeps 29 people and was built to be a beacon for folks to come who need healing and hope. We love the place and have seen people find real healing here. Oh, it is just wood, stone, and furnishings, but I believe that God has blessed the place with His peace and He has put us here for a reason.
Anyway, we had a great group of teens and college age folks coming out to offer a work day for us in exchange for a retreat. We offered food, lodging, swimming, and love and they offered to do some light work around the property. It is a great exchange. And, what more do young people want after a half-day of work outside? Swimming of course! The carrot that was held out for them was this, “You all work hard in the September, Texas heat and we will feed you well and offer you cool, clear water to jump into after a hard few hours of work. Wouldn’t you know that Friday morning, we woke to a pool with a pretty heavy “green tinge”!? We had a light rain a day or so prior and it always creates havoc to a delicately balanced pool. I was devastated, lost, and well, discouraged. You know those times when it seems like just one more thing can tip the scales of your faith? Well, this was that one thing that tipped my scale. I felt completely alone, completely defeated, and well, ready to throw in the towel (no pun intended). All over what? Pool water….
I think about Elijah and Mount Carmel, having great faith in the face of all of the Baal worshippers and how He trusted God to burn up not only the Baal altar, but also the one he built for God as well. He also ran supernaturally, found rest under a “broom tree” and God provided him water and food. Yet he still prayed that God would “take his life”. Why? All because of discouragement. (For more details, read 1 Kings 18 and 19). Oh, I had not done great deeds like Elijah, but I was still tired of hoping, having faith, and thinking that all my faith had led me nowhere. I can only tell you what I felt, and it was hopeless… like all my faith had been for not. We had prayed over the pool water, we had hoped for the retreat and yet we woke up Friday morning to more green, no blue. I was at the end of my faith rope.
Well wouldn’t you know that the Youth Pastor called about an hour before the event and he said they had talked about it and told the young folks coming and they all agreed they were still coming and they would have a great time working and being together no matter what the shape of the pool. They came, we prayed, we rejoiced and they showed me what real faith looks like. We woke Saturday morning ready to work, ready to begin a hard day in the heat and the pool was light blue and wouldn’t you know, by the time they were done and ready to swim the water was a crystal clear blue and just right. God came through – “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
Fear, dismay, and discouragement try to take over and overwhelm our faith. Can I really trust that my God is with me wherever I go? Can you? All I know is that God took something as simple as pool water and reminded me of the great Faith Warrior Joshua. He went into the Promised Land when no one else felt strong enough. His eyes were fixed on a God who commanded him to be strong and courageous. May we have the faith of Joshua, and persevere even though there may be days we just want to die under a broom tree. I learned many things last Friday – two of them I will share with you. It’s okay to have days of discouragement, they come in this world we live in and it is also okay to get back up, place your eyes back on the God who is stronger than your discouragement and keep going. Deserts become promised lands and green pool water turns blue – God is still on the throne and He really is with us wherever we go.