If you’re an English Premier League soccer (football) fan, you will instantly recognize the initials YNWA. They are forever associated with the greatest football club in the world J - Liverpool. YNWA is shorthand for the club’s motto, You’ll Never Walk Alone, taken from the song title in the musical Carousel. Just before the beginning of each home match, it is sung by the supporters and it is generally regarded as one of the most moving experiences in world sports. Its appeal is universal because life has many hardships and it is very comforting to know that we aren’t in it alone. Our verse for today comes from a time that was challenging for the Israelites and Joshua in particular.
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.
Things to think about:
· Can you recall a time when the events in your life conspired to make you feel alone? What was going on and why were you feeling that way?
· Similarly, can you recall a time when somebody really stepped up and was there for you?
o What did they do that was most meaningful to you?
· Our verse starts of with the call to be strong and courageous. I love this because Christianity is a manly faith. God wants us to be strong, to not shirk from challenges or disappointment, but to face them head on.
o Who is someone you know (or know of) who has demonstrated this kind of strength and courage?
§ What do you admire the most about them?
· Our passage says not to be afraid or terrified. What are things that can cause that level of fear?
o Loss of good health, an enemy, the sudden loss of income or finances, maybe a situation you feel ill-equipped to handle, the potential loss of a loved one, admission of a weakness, making a bad decision, being found out for a mistake one has made, death (and what happens after we die).
§ Do any of these resonate?
§ What else might be on this list?
· Left to my own devices, all of the things listed above terrify me! There is so much that we don’t have control over and no one is immune to the tough challenges life hands out.
o I remember the first Bible verse that jumped off the page to me was Proverbs 3:5-6 – Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding but acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straights.
§ That is massively comforting to me knowing that it’s not my job to figure it all out but rather to lean on Him who cares about me.
· Our verse goes on to say that “the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you or forsake you.”
o Or according to the EPL version of the Bible, “You’ll Never Walk Alone”
o How do you sense God’s presence when circumstances stoke your fears?
§ How do you “lean in” to Him?
· Before Jesus was crucified on the cross, He told His disciples that even though He was going to have to leave them, He was not going to leave them (or us) alone.
o John 14:16-17a – “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth.”
§ I think this is such good news! More than the Power of Positive Thinking, or “man up!” or anything else that puts the weight on me, we have Someone who is with us, even in us, to give us strength and courage when we need it the most.
· You may be in the midst of tough times right now. Be strong and courageous, Your Father goes with you. He is there and He will empower you to be triumphant. Not only does this help you in your time of need but it serves as a signal to others who are, or will, go through difficulties themselves, that there is Someone who will ensure You’ll Never Walk Alone!
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