How to face great odds

Green Day’s “Good Riddance” lyrics begin:

Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road
Time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go

I like the song, but disagree with the second line. I’ve stood at that fork many times and have never found time directing me by the wrist. I had a choice to make. Ultimately, the two tines on that fork are: keep doing what you’re doing, or do the unexpected.

Want my advice? Be bold.

I recently learned an inspiring quote from an early 20th century pastor and author, (William Benjamin) Basil King (1859-1929). He said:

“Go at it boldly, and you’ll find unexpected forces closing round you and coming to your aid.”

You may have heard it phrased as:

“Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid.”

God used similar phrasing when encouraging Joshua. Here’s the situation. God had delivered the Israelites from Egyptian slavery through Moses (using the 10 plagues). They had spent the ensuing 40 years wandering in the wilderness (near the promised land of Canaan) because they had to learn to trust God. Moses carried the burden of this leadership.

Moses is now dead. It’s Joshua’s role to lead the fearful, stubborn, unruly people (you know, like you and me) across the Jordan River and into their promised inheritance. The problem is that other nations already live there and they’re not offering to pick up and move. The Israelites are going to have to fight for their future. Sound familiar?

This is where we find Joshua. Overwhelmed. Uncertain. Unproven. Another fork stuck in the road. Should he go forward or turn back? This is where God met Joshua. God will meet you in your current circumstances, too.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

So what’s the answer to “how to face great odds”? Like Joshua. Not alone. Turn to God today. He’s our mighty Father and He’s trustworthy. Be bold. Be strong. Be courageous!



About Tony Schmitz

Tony Schmitz received his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Temple University in 1993, his MS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida in 1996, and his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida in 1999. He is a mechanical engineering professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
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