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  • “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” (John 16:33)

    Written by Joe Smith

    I think we can agree that one attribute of a great teammate is optimism. Not the phony optimism where a player will just say what the “good teammate” script calls for. I am talking about the player who will stand up and encourage their teammates to persevere when the going gets tough because they genuinely believe their fellow workers can do it.


    Joshua takes the Lead


    There was a man named Joshua who fit that mold. He had a ridiculously big hill to climb when he took over as leader of the Israelites when Moses died. He would take over a nation who was on the outside looking in. A nation faced with an uphill battle to reclaim the land that was theirs.  

    But before Joshua became the top dog, he was selected to be a part of an early reconnaissance assignment. He was part of one of earliest special ops teams in history. Pretty cool, right? He and eleven other of the best men from each tribe in Israel were sent into Canaan, a land promised to be given to the Israelites, but currently inhabited by other intimidating people. When the spies returned ten of the twelve had less than optimistic reports: “The people who live there are powerful… The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size… We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them” (Numbers 13:28, 32-33). Talk about negative! Those ten basically said it was useless to try and take the land. When comparing the size of the Israelites with those in the land they said they were like grasshoppers and that’s exactly how they felt; small and powerless.


    Joshua makes a Stand


    Thankfully Joshua didn’t see himself as a grasshopper. Joshua and Caleb were the only two spies who came back and said: “We can win this!” Why were they so optimistic? On paper they had no chance. They were going into a heavily fortified land with gigantic killers ready to defend themselves. So where did their optimism come from? Let’s find out: 

    If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land… and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the Lord. And 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 (14:8-9).

    God had promised to give the land to the Israelites. Joshua trusted in God’s promise and the Lord made him leader of a nation. His reliance on the Lord also made him a military expert.


    God will be there in the good, the bad, and the ugly


    Now, this story doesn’t mean that you can just say “God is with me so I am going to be ‘successful’ in everything I want to do.” I remember coming into the dressing room after the second period of a game being down 7 goals. Momentum was a thing of the past. Heads were hanging. I think if we were given the option we would have simply forfeited the game. We were embarrassed. I said to the team: “Guys, I’m not going to sit here and say that we are going to go out next period and score 8 goals, but we can control what kind of an effort we put into this final 20 minutes. Let’s go out and make this our best period.”

    Guess what? We won........Okay, we didn’t win. But the point is that as a Christian we don’t have to fall into the pessimism of today. Of course we will be discouraged and of course there will be times where optimism won’t be shooting out of our ears.  However, we can be encouraged by the fact that we serve a loving God who has gone before us, has mapped out our life, and will be there for us during the good, the bad, and the ugly.

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