Devotion

The Times News has teamed up with area clergy to share "Words of Comfort," a 350-400 word devotional, daily on the front page of our print edition and online at TimesNews.Net. Longer columns appear as part of our Faith in Action series in Sunday Stories. Any member of the clergy who'd like to get involved can contact Carmen Musick at cmusick@timesnews.net.

Editor’s Note: With so many churches in our area having to suspend worship services during the coronavirus pandemic, we are asking local pastors to partner with us in bringing a daily message of hope and comfort to readers during this difficult time.

Joshua and Caleb said "to the entire Israelite assembly, 'The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us ... do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.'" (Numbers‬ ‭14:7-9‬ ‭NIV‬‬‬‬‬‬)

In Numbers 13, Moses sent in a group to explore the land of Canaan, including Joshua and Caleb. When they returned, they brought back a cluster of grapes that needed two men to carry it on a pole; they told Moses about pomegranates and figs, and the land which flowed with milk and honey. But there were some in the group who saw things differently. They reported that the people in the land were giants and they feared being devoured. Joshua and Caleb rebuked the naysayers, reminding them that they didn’t need to be afraid because God was with them!

Two opposite responses to the same set of circumstances: one of fear and one of faith.

This story reminds me a lot of the circumstances we find ourselves in today. Amidst ever-growing concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, political tensions, economic concerns with people losing their jobs and businesses, racial tensions, and an emerging culture war, these giants are creating fear, frustration, discouragement, and even anger for many. But we need to remember the words of Joshua and Caleb, and respond with faith knowing God is with us.

Jesus told his disciples in John 16:33: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

So hold on to the promises of God made real in Jesus and His followers. Have faith that God knows and understands the trials in the world and the tests you are going through. Your hope is secure in a longing, loving God, for whom all things are possible.

Grace and Peace.

Tom Hancock is pastor at Cassidy United Methodist Church in Kingsport.