I’ll quickly admit that the year of faith that is “strong and courageous” quickly became much more difficult than I expected. Not that I should be surprised- I know that the enemy loves to mess with our steps of faith. But last night I was discouraged. Very discouraged. The exact opposite of what Joshua 1:9 instructs us. I told Andy last night that I was having a hard time and was wrestling with feeling like the position that God has led us into was just impossible. Frankly, I felt screwed over and hung out to dry. I told Andy that I was so discouraged that I was ready to just quit and do anything else than what God was asking us to do because it was just too hard, and it is taking too long. I’m tired. It’s been a long and hard season.
And then this morning I continued reading in Joshua. But it wasn’t what I read today, but I was reminded of what I read a couple days ago. Joshua 7 tells us of a man named Achan who went against the Lord’s instructions. When the Israelites took Jericho, they were specifically instructed not to take and plunder any of the “devoted things”. The things that Jericho has used for their worship of other gods. But this man Achan saw the wealth of these things and couldn’t help himself but take some of it. Now, you can read the account for yourself and all that happens, but what the Lord reminded me of this morning was their next battle in Joshua 8 where they take the city of Ai. The Lord’s commands were similar to that of Jericho, but with one big difference- they could take the plunder this time. Poor Achan! If he had only waited, he would have received the plunder he wanted! It reminded me of something the Lord told Andy awhile ago- taking anything before the Lord’s timing (even if He promises it) is stealing. The impatience of Achan turned what would have been a blessing in the next battle into a curse. Timing is clearly a big deal.
Sigh…. I guess it’s not our time. But I’m thankful that the Lord reminded me of the consequences of impatience. It’s amazing how even through really strong emotions, the power of the Word cuts through and encourages obedience. And gives strength that helps me stand against those emotions that I was powerless to fight last night.
As a side note, I was thinking about Joshua 6: 1, 2 last night. “Now the gates of Jericho were securely barred because of the Israelites. No one went out and no one came in. Then the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men…” It made me chuckle. If you have never paid attention to God’s sense of humor, I think that this is a good example. And personally, I think he prefers irony the most! But this morning, while still appreciating the humor, the statement encourages me and my discouragement. It feels like life is securely barred with no ways in or out- but what looks impossible to us is simple irony for God!