Ever have one of those days?
Wake up grumpy, maybe a touch of a headache from staying up too late to watch that dumb movie on TNT?
Late to church because it’s a bad hair day and you burnt yourself on the curling iron?
Don’t feel like fellowship but plaster a smile anyway so that no one asks you what’s wrong because some days, like today, caring people are just plain annoying and explaining would be like pulling your own wisdom teeth out with pliers?
Feel a little guilty, so try to focus on praise and worship only to drift and bobble and struggle?
Know you’ve got it pretty good in this world, I mean you don’t even have anything to go down front to pray for today, so really what’s there to complain about… except you can’t quite shake that heavy, dare I say, depressed feeling?
Run home as fast as possible glad to have the rest of the day to be lazy… I mean, rest… so that you’re ready for the work week, even feeling like you’re getting a handle on the doldrums, determined to have joy no matter what… only to stub your toe or ruin the macaroni and cheese or spill a Diet Coke on the brand new apartment carpet?
Ever have one of those days when everything seems like a battle?
Like you’re being attacked by invisible imps hell bent on making your day miserable?
When I have these days, I do one of two things – I spend all my time worrying and fretting and trying to snap out of it, or I go to sleep on the couch and ignore it. Neither one helps… at all. In fact, I can see those little devils cackling giddily at my defeat.
The last time… uh, recently… that I experienced one of those days, the Lord helped me out by giving me a little heads up… right after I DID stub my toe and was about to unleash out loud the… feelings… pent up inside.
This is what He said… You’re going to have battles in this life. If you follow My instructions, you will win those battles.
I don’t think He was walking about the stubbed toe.
I love the Book of Joshua, as you might notice since my entire theme here on Dry Ground came from the Israelites’ experience crossing into the Promised Land miraculously on the Jordan’s dry riverbed. But the story doesn’t end there, and it doesn’t continue in the cliché way that “Promised Land” is often referred to, especially in popular culture. Yes, it indeed proved to be the land of milk and honey. As soon as the Nation crossed over, they ate their first meal harvested of the land and from that day the manna, God’s wilderness provision, ceased and never appeared again. (Josh. 5:12) However, God had a purpose for bringing His people into the Promised Land, and it was not to lay around popping grapes into each others’ mouths.
It was to do battle.
In order to claim their inheritance, the people had some work to do. Hard work. They had to fight for it. Not in their own might, because the Lord proclaimed He’d already given them the land, but they had a purpose and a duty to fulfill too, manifesting in the form of battles.
And there were a lot of them.
The first is the famous one, the Battle of Jericho. They marched around the city once a day for six days without saying a word (Josh. 6:10), and on the seventh day they marched seven times around. Then they all gave a shout and the “walls came a’tumbling down.”
Many lessons have been garnered from this historic event, but as I nursed my toe, I discovered another one.
Ever feel like you’re going in circles? Even though the Lord says we are more than conquerors, your battle seems to be on-going, never-ending. You wake up another day only to be told, “Walk around the walls… again… and don’t forget to keep your mouth shut.” Day after day, hoping the walls are falling soon, needing the walls to fall now, you take your walk. On the seventh day, when you’re frustrated and weary and spent, maybe even a little angry, He asks you to walk around the walls seven times.
I mean, come on!
I know, God, You just performed a miracle back there, letting me walk through a flooded river on dry ground, but this walking, walking, walking crap is really getting old!
Been there? Oh, I have… uh, recently.
But what happens if you give up on any of those days and don't follow through on God's instructions? What happens if you disobey, give in to laziness, or ignore the battle?
The walls don’t come down.
What happens if you persevere, fight the way God asks you to fight, keep walking?
You get to shout.
Part of claiming the inheritance of the Promised Land is doing battle. No matter what size your battles, (from impish annoyances like toe-stubbing all the way to devastating onslaughts like cancer, addictions or betrayal), take encouragement from Joshua – Be strong and courageous (a.k.a don’t give up), faithfully do what He tells you to do (a.k.a. don’t give up!), and give God the glory for the victory (a.k.a. He never gives up on you). (Josh. 1:5)