Tonight we had dinner with some couples from Church. It’s a nice thing we do once a month to enable folks to get to know each other better. And it’s also a way to find out where the best cooks are. From personal experience, I can assure you that almost all of them live here on or near this little Island on the North Carolina coast!
In the course of conversation during the evening, Patti, our hostess, shared with us the fact that her husband was scheduled for open-heart surgery on Wednesday of this coming week. And what he’d really wanted was to have the supper with us at his home before his surgery. When I would have been thinking about myself, avoiding everybody, hiding under the bed, curled up in a fetal position, sucking my thumb, feeling sorry for myself, and just waiting for them to “come and get me, and take me away,” he was thinking about a time of fellowship with Christian friends.
We had prayer together, of course. Before leaving, I reminded Bill we’d be praying for him. By name. And I also asked him to consider a simple sentence in Scripture: Joshua 1:9. As we said goodnight and he and Patti walked us out to the car, I quoted one of my favorite verses of Scripture from memory. I really wanted him to know, as he faced this ordeal, that he wasn’t alone. Just as God had promised Joshua and others that He’d be with them, I wanted my friend to be assured of that promise:
“Be strong, and of good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed; for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”
While I’m not necessarily thinking of Joshua as one of God’s “Comeback Kids,” this does seem to me to be a defining moment in his life. As it would be, indeed, a defining moment in anyone’s life! Joshua had appeared earlier, briefly in Hebrew history when he and a fellow spy (a young gentleman named Caleb) went with several other Israeli undercover agents on a clandestine recon mission. You may recall the details of how they entered the walled city of Jericho, and were able to escape detection through the help of a lady of dubious reputation, Rahab the harlot. (You’ll notice I didn’t try to get cute and make this a story about Rehab for Rahab!). When the spies got back to base camp, Joshua and Caleb reported: “We can take ‘em.” But, the timid majority trembling in fear, said: “Those guys looked like giants, and compared to them we looked like grasshoppers.” Because of the frightening, discouraging majority report the mission was aborted temporarily, and Joshua seemed to drop off the radar. At least for a while. Moses saw his potential, though, and Joshua rose through the ranks to become his “chief of staff.”
Upon Moses’ death, Joshua became “Commander in Chief” of one of the most bedraggled, undisciplined, untrained, unproven, ill-equipped, poorly armed, nondescript, rag tag armies ever paced under anyone’s command . . .with an impossible mission about to be thrust upon him and them.
If you ever think “times is hard,” can you imagine the difficulty “General” Joshua was facing?! Do you wonder what he was thinking? How he was feeling? Do you ever ask yourself how you’d have handled such an assignment as he was about to face? If Joshua had a brain, I’m certain he was frightened. I’d have been sweating bullets. I don’t know if he asked: “How in the world did I get into this situation? What do I do now?” At any rate, in answer to an unspoken prayer request, Jehovah God spoke those words. It’s what I’ve called “A Command and a Promise.”
For some reason, those words weighed upon my mind in such a way that I felt compelled to share them with Bill. And with you. I’ll be considering that verse and hope you’ll do that as well and share your insights on the blog. Bill Feige, my friend, will have the surgery Wednesday morning. Your prayers on his behalf will certainly be welcome, and I’ll tell you the outcome.
Meanwhile, will you also ponder the meaning of the words of that command and promise given to Joshua? Let’s look closely, carefully, prayerfully and thoughtfully at this order given to Joshua that night. He’s a military man. In the face of one of the greatest challenges ever forced upon any Jewish general, he is told quite clearly what is expected of him.
What are his orders?
God’s servant, your brother, friend, and fellow student
There are a few people who’ve been a great source of encouragement to me, almost since the beginning of this effort. Often, I’ll send them “advance copies” of something on which I’m working. Along with my wife, they get prior notice of what I’m ”up to,” and I invite them to help me stay on track. They read and responded to the info above even before I posted it on the site. I also sent this information out to a prayer chain which our Church has developed, and several folks responded ”off line. ” Here are a couple of our “regulars, ” who frequently contribute incisive insights as well as a great deal of encouragement to me:
”Wanted to let you know on my drive back from the airport earlier today, I prayed for your friend Bill Feige – by name. I prayed for you and Linda as well. I will continue to keep him in my prayers. It’s human nature sometimes to shut down and withdraw when we are facing scary times. Your friend opted to reach out to godly friendships, and in doing so he’s now on the prayer list of many. Thank you for sharing that lesson.
It’s a beautiful day with temperatures in the 70’s here. First sightings of spring are everywhere- one only need to look, smell and listen. (smile)
In addition, here’s a brief response and a request from my ”snowed-in friend with two Saint Bernards…Yes, TWO…” the Attorney in Canada. In addition to being a candidate for a post in the Canadian system of justice, he’s also a serious Bible scholar. We first met when I was doing the study on Job. He has written a book on Job, treating it as an attorney in a court of law. That book is one of the references currently being used in Bible courses which are taught in the States. His work on Job treats it as a legal issue and I’m sure scholars will take his work seriously. Pray for him as he seeks to exhibit Christ while serving his country in the legal arena. And especially as he seeks a position of even greater responsibility. You’ll notice his notes to me are much briefer than some of his presentations in court!
to me 4 hours ago
PS. I interview for senior Crown job HVGB March 18. I’m on circuit in NAT this coming week.