Joshua 18:6 KJV
Have you ever had an experience that totally rocked your world? One that knocked the winds from your sail and reset the rules of engagement and the boundaries of your life whether for good or for bad?
Change is something we are taught to manage although most of the time we don’t like change. We like to be able to control the direction of our lives, at least to have the capacity to respond to challenges in a way that enables us to continue to move in the direction we are already on or the one we planned and have always had the intention of achieving?
What if something happened that is totally out of your control? An occurrence or event that shifts everything out of focus for you? What do you do then?
Chances are that at least 1 in 10 of us will have such an experience. For some it is the loss of a child, heck the loss of many children like happened to Job in the bible. What do you do when the symbols or your future and your hope is snatched from you without notice?
For others it may be the devastation and disappointment of a cheating spouse? Someone you have invested your whole life in, with your futures mapped out and planned. Heck he or she may even have cheated with someone of the same sex and it has become public knowledge and you feel the reproach all around you? Your relationship is decimated beyond recognition. What do you do?
For others still, it might be the loss of a way of life, a job, a person who is the centre of your life, a business, the contracting of an incurable sickness, the loss of your home and everything you’ve worked for etc.
It is only human that you will be knocked off your feet. Especially when this is an anchor for you and it appears to no longer be holding in the face of the storm. When whatever is happening is no fault of yours and it’s like everything good has deserted you and only confusion is in your abode?
The bible has quite a few sad stories in it and even as a reader you can feel the devastation the people being spoken about are going through and had it been that we do not know the end of their stories, we will have said ‘ it is over for them’. But it appears that their greatest devastations were actually destiny knocking at their doors and the choices they made determined whether good or bad came out of their circumstances.
Take Naomi and her daughters in law – death of a husband and all her children. Poverty and devastation in a foreign land and age was not on her side.
Take Job – from grace to grass story to the extent that even his wife begun to scorn his God. To loose everything, I mean everything in a day and to have a debilitating publicly disgraceful illness on top.
Take Jabez – to have greatness within you but to come from the wrong side of the tracks and to be given a cursed name at birth, in our language we will call him ‘a bad luck’ person.
Take Hannah – barren and fruitless and constantly being ridiculed by her rival.
Tale Leah – put in a marriage by a scheming father to a man who does not want you and wants your sister instead.
Take Esther – a beautiful orphan from the wrong side of the tracks.
Take Bathsheba – your husband killed by the king because of you and you yourself conscripted into a marriage you did not plan for.
Take Jesus – where do I start? The bible calls him a man of many sorrows. The Son of God mistreated and abused in a world he made.
The list could go on and on. But you know the end of the story for all of these ones. Apart from Jesus, you can’t really say any of them planned for whatever they went through. Did it devastate them? Yes, totally!! Did it redefine their lives? Yes definitely. Did good come out of it ? Certainly.
Their lives have been written about as an example to us. That in the face of great loss and change and tragedy, God always extends an opportunity for recovery and restoration, even a whole new life. It may not look like that when it’s happening to you but there is always a seed of greatness in the challenges we face.
The issue is that all the people people will not have their testimonies as we know them now without their life altering experiences. If God had revealed to them what they will suffer, they will not have agreed to or chosen that way for themselves except Jesus Christ ( who saw the cross and still went towards it which is why he is the most amazing person that ever lived and still lives).
Our job is to do what these examples did in the mist of their losses and challenges and confusion. Fix your eyes on God and not on the problem. Hold on to God who is the unchanging one and let hope come alive again and let this hope lead us to our peaceful shores.
I am always inspired by the Story of Joshua in the bible. He lived his life in the shadow of Moses, one of the greatest prophets that ever lived. The things God used Moses to accomplish were breathtaking and jaw dropping. I mean, the sea parting for a multitude to walk through, water coming out of a rock to quench the thirst of a multitude, manna falling from heaven; God spoke to this man, Moses face to face. Joshua was his humble servant basking in the results he could see in Moses life. He idolised ( for lack of a better word) Moses and like all in the camp depended on him. Joshua was not even the first among many, if there was an honor parade in the Israelite’s camp, he probably wouldn’t have been the first to be put forward. But he was a keen observer of God and of Moses and as far as he was concerned there could be no leader in Isreal like Moses. Then Moses goes and dies. Actually, he went up the mountain and never came back which is even worse. The one who led this great multitude out of Egypt and demonstrated the power of God among them and pleaded their cause with God all the way, he was gone. I am sure everyone went into a depression.
Where do you go when your leader who you consider the best or the greatest is no more? To bring it to our world today, what do you do when your Pastor, the great man of God, the one you look up to, the miracle worker, whose very words you hang on to, the vision carrier, the anointed of God is no more? Moses died but some loose their Pastors through all sorts… Sin, pride,etc.
But God in the midst of all this spoke to Joshua. He said:
‘Moses my servant is dead: now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel'(Joshua 1:2 KJV).
‘He is dead’ ….. ‘And now arise’, these two statements do not go together very well, do they? But that is God for you.
You see, the loss you are mourning, has an expiry date. You need to get to its otherside of the story. That person is gone, that dream is gone, that job is gone, that beauty and youth is gone. That chapter is over. You need to ARISE. Out of the ashes like a Phoenix, spread your wings again, the future is waiting.
But how do you arise? There is only one way. And that is what God said to Joshua. “Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them. Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. (Joshua 1:6, 7 KJV).
That is what I say to you now. Be strong and of good courage. Only be thou ( I mean you, you!) strong and very courageous. Why? That you may observe to do according to what God expects of you. That is the only way to stage a comeback. Come on, let’s do it. Let’s make history. Let your story become an example not a tale of many sorrows.
Enough said !!!