READ: JOSHUA 1:9; ECCLESIASTES 4:9-12; ISAIAH 43:1-3; MATTHEW 28:20
Einar pushed open the portal door of his new habitat and started down the desert path. He’d only lived on the planet Themisto for a few weeks, and he still wasn’t used to its dry climate—or its moonless nights. Even in the afternoon sun, he shivered at the thought of the nocturnal creatures that came out after sunset. This place was nothing like the frigid moon he had been stationed on most of his life.
He was going to visit Leif, his nearest neighbor and newfound friend. They worked together at the research base, and today Leif was going to teach Einar how to grow native vegetables in a shade garden.
In the light, Einar loved the desert with its prickly plants, shining rocks, and glittering sand. But at night, arid breezes whistled eerily through the brush. It was easy to imagine bumping into the hard cactus spines, stumbling over a blue neidr snake, or feeling the fuzzy legs of a pry copyn (which was similar to a tarantula, but bigger). The coyote-like creatures, called blaidds, prowled at night here too. Needless to say, Einar always made sure to be home before dark.
As he walked down the dusty path, he remembered the Scripture that had helped him on the long journey to this new world: “Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” He whispered a prayer to the Almighty, double-checked that his anti-venom kit was attached to his utility belt, and gripped his stun-spear tighter. Still, he didn’t feel very courageous.
When Einar reached Leif’s habitat, Leif and his roommate Colborn were already outside gathering cacti. Soon Einar was working and laughing alongside them. He was so fascinated with the shade garden that he forgot about the time. But when he saw where Themisto’s sun was in the sky, his jaw dropped. “I need to get home,” he said. “It’s getting dark already.”
Leif stood up and brushed the dirt off his hands. “No worries. We’ll walk home with you. It will make the journey safer.” Einar was about to say no, he was used to traveling alone. But then Colborn spoke up, “After all, two people are better off than one…and three are even better!” Einar recognized the Scripture, and a smile spread across his face. He nodded, grateful, and soon they were on their way.
When Einar arrived home, he breathed a sigh of relief. The walk over had been filled with laughter, not fear. They’d even shared some of their favorite Scriptures as they walked. As Leif and Colborn headed back, Einar waved. “Don’t trip over a neidr snake!” They laughed, and before his friends were out of earshot, Einar called, “Thanks… for coming back with me.” Einar couldn’t see them anymore, but he heard Leif’s voice through the dark. “The Almighty is with you, and we will be too.” • A. W. Smith
• Consider taking a moment to read the Bible passages quoted in today’s story, Joshua 1:9 and Ecclesiastes 4:9-12. Have you ever had a Bible verse help you in a difficult time? What was it?
• Can you think of a time you were faced with a new or scary situation? Did you feel like you were supposed to handle it alone? As Christians, we don’t have to face anything alone. Jesus is always with us, and that’s why we can be courageous. Not only is He present with us through His Spirit and His Word, but also through His people. He is the One providing people for us, people to be His hands and feet in the lonely moments.
• Presence is a big deal to God. Jesus is “God with us” (Matthew 1:23), and He came so that He would always be with us. Jesus so much wants to be with us that He died and rose for us…and then placed us in His community. Everyone who trusts in Jesus will live with God—and the rest of His people—forever. Jesus promises His followers, “I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20). And He calls us to be present with each other as He is present with us—to love, support, and encourage one another. Who are trusted Christians in your life? What are some ways you could practice being present with each other?
• While Jesus doesn’t promise that scary and difficult things won’t happen, He does promise to be with us through them. Are you facing anything new, stressful, or difficult in your own life? How could you ask for help—both from God and from other people?
“And be sure of this: I [Jesus] am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20b (NLT)