“After the death of Moses, the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua, son of Nun, Moses’ aide: ‘Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites. I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses… As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them’” (Joshua 1:1–6).
In light of this verse, I want to share what happened in one of my friend’s life. It happened unexpectedly. No one saw it coming. My friend’s father just died in his sleep. The family was devastated. He was the only earning member of the family. My friend and his siblings were all under the age of 12 at that time. Their mother had never worked before. She had not even handled some basic activities such as banking or getting groceries because the father used to do it all.
The death was a shocking news to all of us and we shared the family’s grief. Many thought that there was no hope for the family. For months together, my friend’s mother remained depressed and couldn’t pull herself out of bed to even feed the young ones. When the friends and extended family left and the support extended by people almost dried up, the reality hit them.
During those days, I remember my friend picking up his guitar and strumming it for long hours. I didn’t know how to help besides just hanging out with him.
Fast forward. Years went by. We all got busy with our lives.
Once there was a music festival in my city where a famous band was playing that evening. Never had I seen a crowd so excited. All were lost in the moment as each danced to the music. Young and old together were having a great time dancing to the music the band was playing. And yes, you guessed it. The band’s lead guitarist was my friend.
That night, after the crowd thinned and the fans let us alone, I caught up with him. We sat into the late hours of the night. All through it, what I heard my friend saying was this: You can listen to God even in the darkest hours of your life.
He said, “When there was no hope and everything around was so discouraging, I would pick up my guitar and play some song and listen to the still voice that God was speaking to me in, to my heart.”
Joshua, the army commander, faced a similar situation after the death of his mentor and the charismatic leader Moses. Moses had single-handedly brought a massive number of people from the bondage and slavery from the hands of the most powerful army at that time. But he died before they could reach their promised land. The whole community mourned, and Joshua got paralyzed, not knowing what to do. The negative voice was prevalent all around. Amid that crisis, Joshua listened to a different voice. One that was above and real than the circumstance he was in. That bright and still voice of God spoke of hope, promise, and strength.
We learn three powerful lessons here:
- Darkness around us or discouragement within or even the death cannot shut out the voice of God if we are willing to listen.
- The voice that we hear has the power to change the situation that tries to destroy and debilitate us.
- It is crucial in those moments to decide which voice we will allow to capture, influence, believe, and work in our hearts.