Do not be afraid or terrified . . . for the Lord your God goes with you. (Deut. 31:6)

RAISING TEENAGERS IS LIKE eating ribs. It takes a lot of work, but you get something incredibly good from it. My wife and I have six kids with just one teenager still at home, and I can tell you it hasn’t always been easy. We certainly have had our share of good times, but we wouldn’t have been successful as a family if we were only in it for the fun. We needed to challenge our kids regularly. The interesting thing is that even as we were calling them to do tough things—like work hard, accept the consequences of their actions, persevere, or forgive others—our ultimate goal was to encourage them. We were preparing them to face life on their own, and we knew that if they would walk in step with the Holy Spirit they would have nothing to fear.

This is the same message Moses gave the Israelites just before they entered the Promised Land. He told them he wouldn’t be able to go with them, and he admitted the battles they would face would be intimidating. But his constant word was that they had nothing to be afraid of because God would lead them and would never forsake them.

Pretending things are easy when they are not is no way to inspire confidence. Confidence comes from speaking the truth—which includes the truth that God is our defender.

Encourage three people today by reminding them of God’s presence.

Lawrence W. Wilson is a pastor, author, and avid cyclist from Fishers, Indiana.