Encourage and Strengthen

When I was a senior in high school, the theatre department I was EXTREMELY actively involved with put on the production of The Miracle Worker. EVERYONE thought I was designed to play the role of Helen Keller. It was as if the play was picked out to do that year because of me. After all, who better to play the role of someone blind than someone, like myself, who is in fact legally blind. I did my audition, and excitedly waited to see my name on the casting list as it went up the next day.

As I approached the list and looked for my name, I was surprised to find that I had been chosen for another role in a completely different show. At the same time as The Miracle Worker, the theatre department was also putting on performances of a children’s play about animals. I cannot even remember the name of the show, and I acted in it.

So I got the role in the animal show. Apparently, my audition of Helen Keller was just not messy enough. So, I played five different types of animals in a less than 90 minute show, and I can honestly tell you I never want to change clothes that many times in a 90 minute period ever again! In case you were wondering, the girl who did get the role of Helen Keller was absolutely amazing at the part. She played Helen Keller 1000 times better than I ever could! I also had a blast playing the roles of multiple animals. It also helped that my high school crush was also a part of the same show as me ;-).

I do not think Moses was in any theatre productions while wandering through the wilderness with the Israelite people, but I do think he understood what it was like to give up the role of his dreams. In Deuteronomy chapter three we are reminded of this. After leading the people for 40 years in the wilderness, Moses would not be the one to lead them into the land God had for them. In fact, when Moses inquired of God in Deuteronomy three about whether or not it could be a possibility God says, “‘Enough from you! Never speak to me of this matter again!'”

However, there is even more to this story. Read what God instructs Moses to do in Deuteronomy 3:28.

“But charge Joshua, and encourage and strengthen him, because it is he who shall cross over at the head of this people and who shall secure their possession of the land that you will see.'”

Moses was not told to just commission Joshua for the job, but he had to encourage and strengthen him for his role of a lifetime of leading the people into the land God promised them. Joshua would lead the people into the land, and Moses would only see it from a distance. Can you imagine how hard it must have been for Moses to encourage and strengthen the person who got the role that he wanted?!

However, this is the kind of people God calls us to be. We are not called to just be accepting of those who took our role, spot, promotion, but we are called to go beyond that and encourage and strengthen them.

So this week when

someone takes your spot
someone takes your role
someone else gets credit for what you did
someone else gets the attention
someone else takes the spotlight
someone else gets the promotion
someone else gets the leg up
someone else goes on your dream vacation
someone else gets the guy
someone else took what you thought should have been yours
someone else is chosen over you

be an encourager and a strengthener. And remember, God has a perfect plan for your life, and it will most likely be wildly different than you expect!

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