Each of us remembers waking up to a dreary grey morning, when the weather outside matched the weather inside—rainy and foggy. I remember times in Chalet les Melezes when we had to scramble for every available bucket, pan, or bowl to catch the drips of the leaky roof. Yes, leaks in the roof turn a home into a dismal place; tiles and asbestos, tin and slates are not impenetrable. From time to time, each of us experiences an inner leak—much more demoralizing than holes in the roof. The condition of our inner house is threatened as leaks appear. We try to find containers to catch the dirt-stained drips. But what we should do is repair the roof.

The Bible tells us the ingredients of these leaks, and it warns us to seek the materials to repair them. God doesn’t give us sympathy to wallow in any kind of self-pity. We let ourselves feel the cold drip of fear, and streams of dismay, or the ebbing of courage. We huddle in our leaky houses and let the downpour drown out the word do. Does our father in Heaven ever stop telling us to “do?” We are to read, listen, and do.

Remember in the beginning of Deuteronomy how Moses reminded the people that the Lord God had told them to possess the land, to go into it because he had given it to them—to fear not and to not be discouraged. Yet the people listened to men, rather than to God. Their actions were based on believing someone else: “Whither shall we go up? Our brethren have discouraged our heart, saying, ‘The people is greater and taller than we; the cities are great and walled up to heaven …’ ” (Deut. 1:28). But Moses tells the people, “Then said I unto you, Dread not, neither be afraid of them. The LORD your God which goeth before you shall fight for you, according to all that he did for you in Egypt before your eyes; … Yet in this thing ye did not believe the LORD your God” (29 and 32).

Discouragement and fear had leaked through. The holes in the roof were made by their friends, “our brethren.” The Israelites let people spoil the security of trusting the Lord’s promises. The crack in the roof comes when we listen to people who insidiously hint or openly say that God cannot be trusted. God’s strong admonitions to “dread not, neither be afraid” are always accompanied by an action, something we are to go ahead and do to show that we trust his promises.

At the end of Deuteronomy 31:7, 8 Moses says to Joshua, “Be strong and of a good courage: for thou must go with this people into a land which the LORD hath sworn unto their fathers to give them; and thou shalt cause them to inherit it. And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee, he will not fail thee neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be thou dismayed.” God repeats this directly to Joshua in Joshua 1:8, 9: “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then shalt thou make thy way prosperous and then shalt thou have good success. Have I not commanded thee? Be thou strong and of a good courage: be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”

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God called upon Joshua to begin a project that stretched out impossibly before him; no man could accomplish it in his own strength. Yet God made it clear over and over again that he knew fear, dismay, even cowardice would be natural emotions and would be fostered by his friends. But God pointed Joshua to the law, to the word of God, and told him to read it, think about it, and fill his mind and emotions with what it said.

Joshua could be courageous because God would never fail him. It was not that circumstances would be easy and smooth. Joshua was asked to act on his believing what God had promised. As leaks came in the roof of his inner self, and fear or dismay dripped in, the tar paper and tile to mend the leaks would be found in rereading and meditating on God’s promises. And then—act. Do the next thing that God revealed. Joshua was to cross Jordan. Yours and mine are different. But there is always a next step to take and there is always someone around who will try to discourage us.

In 1 Chronicles 28:9 David says to Solomon, “And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off forever. Take heed now; for the LORD hath chosen thee to build an house for the sanctuary: be strong and do it. Then David gave to Solomon the pattern.…” David forcefully tells his son to seek the Lord, and then to do what God wants him to do. Each generation needs to seek God on its own to find out what its specific tastes are.

But there is another continuity that seems to be connected with certain types of people. According to the word of God courage is not meant to belong only to certain individuals with a particular set of genes. There is meant to be a special continuity of courage that can be followed through history like a gleaming silver thread. Courage belongs to the people of God. Courage is our heritage. “And David said to Solomon his son, ‘Be strong and of good courage, and do it: fear not, nor be dismayed: for the LORD God, even my God, will be with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the LORD. And, behold, the courses of the priests and the Levites, even they shall be with thee for all manner of workmanship every willing skillful man, for thy manner of service …’ ” (1 Chron. 28:20, 21a).

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That is the gift for the people of God. What fantastic mending material is ours for the taking! Is it a grey, dismal, rainy, heavy day? Are you—am I—exhausted, and is there a leak letting in drips? We are meant to be strong and of good courage in order to do what no one else can do, what belongs to us at this particular moment of history. And on top of that, we are to keep this continuity of courage which has been passed down through the ages. People should see, hear, taste, feel, observe in every way that he will not fail us.

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