Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you shall go with this people into the land that the LORD has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall put them in possession of it. It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” – Deuteronomy 31:7-8
I find myself relating to Joshua in many ways. Here’s a guy who was certainly gifted by God to do amazing things. However, up until this point sometime later in his life, he’d been able to get by without having to step out and reach what would be his full potential. That time is now coming to an end as Moses is about to die and Joshua has been chosen to be the one to lead the people of Israel into the promised land after 40 years of wandering and waiting. Oh yeah – the party’s over.
Or has it just begun? For Joshua, this role of leadership doesn’t represent the world’s view of stepping up after years of simply hovering in the background as an underachiever or as one of those loveable characters who ignores their abilities and is thrust into action. To think so would eliminate God from the equation and make us think that He hasn’t been preparing Joshua for this. We know that’s not true. God has been with Joshua all along – planting the seeds in Him that God know would be needed at this time of testing and great trials.
For years, I’ve wondered what God has been preparing me for. I’ve often caught myself recognizing the groundwork being laid for some future event and thinking I was none too sure that I wanted to move ahead, you know – “If this is just preparing me for something I don’t know if I want it to come.” A foolish, flesh-led thought. I obviously assumed that yesterday’s small struggles were simply preparing me to deal with tomorrow’s big ones. How foolish to assume anything about a God who knows everything – including, as Jeremiah 29 tells us, His plan to prosper me, not to harm me, to give me a future and to give me a hope. I’m 38 years old and only now seeming to come to that place in life where I’m finally ready to be a man, to settle in, and to fully realize the promises of God in me and for me. That is what the world might call a slow start or a late bloomer. I believe that I have been groomed in a Joshua mold – filled with experiences and opportunities to succeed and fail in order to come to the place now where I recognize the full extent of God’s calling to me to surrender my life completely to Him.
The first part of the book is complete. The characters and the setting have been established. The plot is thickening and the hero is beginning his work. In the chapters ahead there will be adventures, chills and spills, advances and delays, romance, suspense, peace and ultimately victory and a happily (for)ever after ending. God will write, direct, and produce while I star in the show. Every moment will be purposeful, no scenes will be lost. And in all of this, I will reap the harvest that God has set in place for me in its fullest measure.
It is my humble prayer that you too would join me in an epic adventure of your own. God has been preparing you for your role and your story all along. As your character has developed and as your experiences have given you cause to learn and to grow, you too have been created to star in one of God’s magnificent plots set out for your life. I pray that nothing will hold you back from filling every page with every blessing God has sent into your life. Open your heart and your life to the complete love given to you by our great God.