Joshua 1: 8=9: Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
I was alone in Madrid, Spain in 1998, a woman traveling by herself, and I only knew a little Spanish, having taken a year of Spanish to complete my Bachelor’s in Sociology. People were friendly, and couples would invite me to sit with them at meals. They were astonished that I would travel so far by myself, and I admitted that I had some trepidation, but not so much that I was willing to miss seeing some of the best museums in the world. The thought that God is with us was a vague notion. It sounded good, but I was not sure it was true. But, I am convinced today that His presence in our lives is real, mainly because of the much-needed miracle I experienced in Madrid.
I had been on a bus tour to see flamenco dancing, and the bus that picked me up from the hotel was supposed to return me back to the front of the hotel. It was well after midnight, maybe closer to 1:00, and the driver had dropped everyone else off in front of their hotels. But, he put me off on a main street, and pointing his finger, told me my hotel was “that way.” So, I started walking toward where I thought he had pointed, but after nearly an hour, all I saw was dark houses, and the more I walked, the further I got from downtown. Even though there were some people out, even some walking their dogs, I was too afraid to speak and say I was lost, not sure of my Spanish. I started to panic and got really scared. My thoughts were, “I am going to walk all night and never find the hotel, and someone is going to grab me and hurt me.”
Then I told myself not to panic; that would be worse. I stopped next to some cars, and I started to pray. I said something like, “Father in Heaven, I am lost and I am starting to panic. I do not know where the hotel is, but you do. You told Joshua to be strong and courageous, not to be afraid or discouraged, for you would be with him wherever he went. I believe you are with me. Please, show me the way to the hotel.” Immediately, I felt a calmness, and in my spirit, I felt a voice say, “Turn 180 degrees.” So, I did, and I saw a faint light way off in the distance, and the voice said, “Go toward that light.” So, I started running, not walking, toward the light, and when I arrived at the source of the light, it was the candy store a couple of blocks from my hotel where planned to buy candy to take home to my children. I knew my way to the hotel from there, and in just a few minutes, I was in my room, safe and sound. This was a true miracle, because I generally cannot see for maybe two blocks, and this candy store was at least three or more blocks away. I should not have been able to see it. I praised God, and today, wherever I am, I remember that God is with me, even if it is an angel sent to be with me.
Too often, when we need God’s help, we don’t know how to call on him to fulfill the promises He made to others in the Bible. I had not long before the trip read the Book of Joshua, and God’s promises to Joshua stayed with me. God advised Joshua to study the Book of Instruction, and to meditate on it night and day. First, how can we know we are obeying God’s Word if we do not know it. Second, knowing God’s Word and obeying Hom leads to success and prosperity in all we do.
Third, it is in the Word that we learn that God is everywhere, and that we cannot hide from him. In Jeremiah 23: 24 , God asks, “Can anyone hide from me in a secret place? Am I not everywhere in all the heavens and earth?” And Psalm 139:7-10 states, “I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me.”
Today, rest in the confident hope that no matter where you are, even places you should not be, the Lord, or an angel of the Lord, is with you. God is still saying to His people, His beloved children, be strong and very courageous, do not be afraid or discouraged, for I am with you wherever you go. I am convinced of the reality of God’s presence in our lives, because He proved it to me on a dark street in Madrid, Spain, and now I never forget.
Father in Heaven, What a mighty God you are! Thank you for your presence. I know that I cannot hide from You, and that You are present in my life. It means a lot to know that Your children are never alone. I thank you also for touching my spirit to know where not to go. When I feel You speaking to my spirit, I have learned to listen, to stay out of trouble. I am thankful, also, that the promises made thousands of years ago are still fulfilled in the 21st century. I will continually read Your Word, so I know what promises to request. I love you, God, as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I stand in awe of your omniscience. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.