“Sometimes, even when we do the scary thing, the brave thing, it still doesn’t work out.” That excerpt from Lynn Cowell’s Proverbs 31 ministries devotion today stood out to me and hit home. She was talking about courage and bravery and learning not to quit.
In moments in my life lately, I have really been tempted to quit and give up. I have gone through significant disappointments and hard times and people hurting me and letting me down. Lynn goes on to say in her devotion, “difficult times in our lives can be the exact opportunities we need to learn not to quit. Here, we learn to be brave and to do the hard things again and again and again. In the tough places, we can learn that our God is faithful to help us; He will never leave or forsake us.” I agree, and that was a much needed word of encouragement today.
A prayer that I prayed to God about eight years ago was my desire for a Joshua man. Joshua of Biblical times was incredibly brave. He was amazing. He was full of faith in God and was not intimidated by circumstances. And Joshua was one of only two spies sent into Canaan who thought the Israelites could do it, aka beat the Giants. “Our God is bigger” could be his and Caleb’s battle cry. And even Moses, who God used to deliver His people from bondage in Egypt, did not even make it to the Promised Land. Moses displeased God when he struck a rock twice with his staff when God had commanded him to just speak to the rock (Numbers 20: 9-12). But Joshua had the privilege to lead the Israelite people into the Promised Land after Moses died. He obeyed God. Wow! What a powerful picture of a Godly man! Joshua has long been one of the Godly men I admire most in the Bible.
You know what God spoke to my spirit when I prayed for a Joshua man? God said, “A Joshua man is hard to find.” Yes, I agree with that. Don’t get me wrong. There are many great, Godly guys out there today. But Joshua is a higher standard than that, and his faith seems like the gold standard to me. Joshua’s faith moves me and that is what I am looking for relationally and romantically. Sometimes I am tempted to compromise or it seems Joshua men don’t exist today who are still single (or who like me and ask me out), but I know that is not true. I still hope to find my Joshua man, or better yet, to have him find me.
Recently I began thinking, “What does a Joshua man want?” Immediately I thought of Esther in the Bible. She was beautiful and pure and brave. She caught the eye of the King when hundreds of other women were competing with her to become Queen. Her famous and familiar line, “And if I perish, I perish” will always be engraved in my mind as the upmost example of courage and bravery. But recently when I was thinking of Esther, I felt inferior. She was so beautiful. I struggle to relate. I believe beauty ultimately comes from within, like Proverbs 31:30 says, “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” However I must admit that recently when I found some white hairs amidst my brown hair, I was mortified and most assuredly less than thrilled. In my thirties, not only have several white hairs appeared, but my metabolism has been a significant challenge to me and it has slowed down. Weight in my younger years was easily manageable and I stayed thin, but now weight can stubbornly refuse to budge in my hope to attain my desired goal weight. This can hurt my self-esteem and cause discouragement. I joined a gym last October, and while it has been baby steps, I have finally managed to lose around 9 pounds. It has been a hard fought battle, but victory is sweet. Along with weight challenges, I was also recently diagnosed with rosacea, which is a red face condition that can start in your thirties and can even cause puss filled pimples. Yep, it can make me feel less than attractive. At times it has caused my nose to even have red spots on the end, making me feel like Rudolph. None of these things (white hairs, weight gain, and rosacea) help with seeing myself as desirable, especially in a look-obsessed world. I’m slowly working on making amends with the aging process, but I definitely don’t want to let my self-esteem be wrapped up in my looks or what the number on the scale says today.
The main thing that I think about with Esther is her bravery. I admired her because I wanted to be her. Sometimes I feel like a timid little mouse, and many people don’t know that I was extremely shy as a child. I was an avid reader and pretty quiet. Even in high school, when I had a class and I was graded on verbal participation points, I had to force myself to raise my hand and talk. I think I raised my hand to speak just twice, actually. But I could nail it on a test when I was writing. So, at the end of our grading period, I got 0 for participation points. I was so shy and unassertive, I didn’t want to argue about the few times that I spoke in what was quite a long stretch of time. I long to be brave, and I have seen growth exponentially in my shyness, but God is still working on me with courage and bravery.
But you know who I was just thinking about today who I can relate to? Rahab. Yes, I know, Rahab was prostitute, Even now, it seems that is how she is always labelled. But I want to point out that Rahab showed remarkable and exemplary bravery after leading a life where she messed up infinitely more than she got it right. Her story is told in Joshua 2:1-24. She definitely was not a pure woman. And a prostitute would not be at the top of most people’s list for who should be in the lineage of Jesus. But you know what? She was redeemed when she made a bold choice to hide and save the lives of two Israelite spies who were hiding from Amorite pursuers. This was outstanding because Rahab was herself an Amorite, and she risked her own safety by harboring the two spies and committing treason against her own people. This would have been punishable by death if she was caught. Paul even gives Rahab a commendation for her faith in Hebrews 11:31, and she is the only woman besides Sarah who is listed as an example of faith in Hebrews 11 ( https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/all-women-bible/Rahab). In BibleGateway.com, a keyword search for Rahab comes up with some thought-provoking things in the topical index, such as “hospitality>>instances of>>Rahab to the spies”, “hospitality>>rewarded>>Rahab’s”, “kindness>>instances of>>Rahab to the spies”, and “mercy>>instances of>>Joshua to Rahab” (https://www.biblegateway.com/quicksearch/?quicksearch=Rahab&qs_version=NIV).