I walked by a woman I barely knew. She grabbed my arm, desperate for help, needing to be heard. She told her story of mounting bills, unemployment, the pain of a child with a drug addiction and her brother fighting cancer. I listened, encouraged, and tried to help her with some resources.
The thing is . . . part of being a pastor is listening to hard stories . . . the kind which makes me wonder how the individual is able to get up and face another day. Sometimes, their desperation takes my breath away.
When everything seems to be coming to an end . . . when the all the doors of opportunity shut . . . there’s does not seem to be a way out.
When we see through the hard places of our story as a beginning, despite the impossibility we’re able to see there’s a way through it.
The key is determining how to get from where we are to where we need to be, believing God will make a way and it will come to pass.
It’s the story of the ancient man, Joshua. He entered the Promised Land, saw the possibilities of what could be, and determined to convince the people to go forward and enter into the place God had planned for them to be.
The people refused to go forward. So, Joshua wandered in the desert for forty years with them. The angst of not doing what you know to be best is especially hard. Self-confidence can easily decrease when it’s perceived as a failure. But. Joshua did not give up, he believed God had a plan beyond it all.
Joshua stayed faithful for forty long years. Think about how long those forty years must have seemed. It had to have been hard at times for Joshua to live and work beside the people who doubted and said, “no” to his vision.
Joshua did not perceive it to be an ending to his leadership, remaining faithful to the people as God’s appointed leader.
It came to pass. A new beginning. A new day.
Joshua instructed the leaders: Go and tell the people to get ready—we are doing it—we are crossing the Jordan and taking the possession of the land God promised.
Joshua lived beyond his failed attempt to get the people to go. He remained strong and ready for forty years. He did not walk away from the task of moving the people forward. He trusted God to be at work, getting them ready to cross the line and possess what was theirs to possess.
What does this mean for our personal story?
Stay strong. God is at work. There’s more for us to do.
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