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“Walter Cronkite or God?” Joshua 1:1-9 Key verse(s): 5:“No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.”


Why is the world such a fearful place? It seems these days people are afraid of more things than they ever were before. We’re afraid of big things and little things alike. We are filled with fear when we think of that terrorist with a bomb strapped around his middle. While our expanding waste lines keeps us almost as fearful of that bulge around our own middle. We fear that our homes might be broken into; so we invest in expensive alarm systems. We fear that our identity might be stolen so our plastic has become more important to us than gold or silver. It’s ironic that in a land that once presented people with so many fearful prospects in the form of skulking mountain lions, ferocious grizzlies and wolves, not to mention a wide assortment of killing diseases, famine and scalp-hunting indians, we seem more fearful today than were our forefathers who faced so many physical challenges just trying to survive from day to day.


What is it about the very real dangers of the past that gave our forefathers pause but didn’t interrupt their sleep? How were they able to survive with such pluck, maintain their self-sufficiency and guard their personal liberty in the face of nearly overwhelming everyday danger? Today Americans rush into the arms of their government at the slightest hint of a danger or a threat. Willing even to give up our most precious liberties in order to secure the hand of a government over us, we stand weak-kneed and wobbly every time the news is rife with the possibility of something terrible happening even in a land thousands of miles away. Perhaps there is a clue in a poll conducted by The Ladies Home Journal nearly a quarter of a century ago. The magazine asked this simply question: “In whom do you trust?” Of the thousands who responded, two individuals were selected as most trustworthy. 40% listed Walter Cronkite, the CBS news anchor, and 26% listed the Pope. God came in dead last at 3%. Even the plumber and used car salesmen scored higher than the Almighty Creator of the universe. If you can’t trust God to take care of you, it is little wonder that we are so filled with fear. Doubtless Walter Cronkite could do little to convince a terrorist ready to blow himself to pieces that it might not be a good idea; even on his best journalistic day.


Evangelist James Brown writes. “Some years ago when I was learning to fly, my instructor told me to put the plane into a steep and extended dive. I was totally unprepared for what was about to happen. After a brief time the engine stalled, and the plane began to plunge out-of-control. It soon became evident that the instructor was not going to help me at all. After a few seconds, which seemed like eternity, my mind began to function again. I quickly corrected the situation.


Immediately I turned to the instructor and began to vent my fearful frustrations on him. He very calmly said to me, ‘There is no position you can get this airplane into that I cannot get you out of. If you want to learn to fly, go up there and do it again.’ At that moment God seemed to be saying to me, ‘Remember this. As you serve Me, there is no situation you can get yourself into that I cannot get you out of. If you trust me, you will be all right.’  That lesson has been proven true in my ministry many times over the years. (James Brown, Evangeline Baptist Church, Wildsville, LA, in Discoveries, Fall, 1991, Vol. 2, No. 4.)


God promises us that He will never leave us or forsake. That’s a hard thing to believe when so many fearful things are happening around us every day. To be sure, it must have been difficult for our forefathers to grasp at times as they fended off the wild beasts and devastating illnesses. To Joshua, son of Nun, it must have been a fearful prospect as well. He was faced with a looming enemy everywhere he went. He could choose to ally himself with others or choose to rely solely on that trustworthy “co-pilot”, his Heavenly Father. Walter Cronkite or God? I guess if I am going to choose a co-pilot that can steer me away from any fear that I have, the choice is simple. God is always in control.

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