Years before my mother started having memory loss, she often repeated stories about her childhood to me. I grew weary and impatient with her repetitions. My usual comment was, “You told me before, Mom.”
Much later, I learned to appreciate her repeated stories. If she hadn’t shared them so many times, I would not have remembered them nor begun to tell them to my own children and grandchildren. I found Mom’s stories worth repeating.
Words of encouraging advice are also worth repeating. After Moses’ death, Joshua took the role of leading the Israelites into the Promised Land. Joshua had been a close, faithful assistant of Moses for 40 years of wandering in the desert. When he found himself at the edge of the deep, wide Jordan River, alone and without the help of his mentor, his heart must have wavered. Who could he rely on now? How could he possibly lead more than a million people without the great Moses?
God gave Joshua a good, strong pep talk that bore repeating. “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and of good courage …” (Joshua 1:6) God repeated his words in verses 7 and 9, adding, “Do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
God knew that Joshua, now an old man, could leave the safety of Moses’ leadership and friendship behind and start on his own daunting trip. God also knew Joshua needed encouragement not once, but over and over.
God’s words of encouragement were worth repeating to Joshua and they’re worth repeating to us. Within any context of life, encouraging words are vital to our growth, whether physical, emotional or spiritual.
Some people can’t or won’t allow themselves to step beyond the pain of losing a loved one through estrangement, disease or death. Like Joshua, we all lose loved ones as he lost Moses. We know we must face subsequent change. God offers us strength and encouragement to make the necessary changes. Like Joshua, when we avail ourselves of God’s help, we grow stronger and become more fulfilled than when we choose to remain powerless or paralyzed in our misery.
Lord, thank you for your repeated words of encouragement. Help us to be like Joshua, ready to shed the effects of past losses, so we can go forward with you. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Mrs. Bair may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.