Stepping into God’s Next Season
Are we there yet?
Any of you who are parents would be familiar with this, sometimes annoying question, from little children, who seem endlessly impatient about getting to a desired destination, such as a holiday location.
In many ways, the Book of Joshua might solicit the same question, as the children of Israel, after 40 years of wilderness wanderings, finally got to enter the Promised Land. But, as they soon discovered, getting “there” didn’t immediately mean the cessation of challenges or struggles. But it was a chance to go on proving the goodness and faithfulness of God.
As we come to Joshua 3, we find the children of Israel, now gathered under a new leader, Joshua, as they stood on the edge of a flooded Jordan River, poised, ready to enter this Promised Land. Right at this point, Joshua says something important to them, “When you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God [that symbol of the very presence of God among his people], and the priests, who are Levites, carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it. Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before” (Joshua 3:3b-4a).
There is no doubt that life and ministry are filled with changing seasons – new places and new ways that we have never encountered before. Yet so often we are looking for that perfect season in which everything is just perfect, where it couldn’t be better! But the reality is that on this side of heaven, we will never arrive at that perfect season. Every new season that God leads his children through in this life comes with fresh challenges and fresh opportunities to trust God and see what He alone can do. The question is, are we ready and able to recognise God’s new seasons for us, and are we prepared to follow Him closely, so we can step out in faith to embrace all that he has prepared for us?
Having provided this instruction to follow the Lord closely into the next season, Joshua provides one more critical word of both direction and encouragement to God’s people: “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you” (Joshua 3:5).
Maybe you are standing on the brink of a new season, a new challenge, and God is saying to you, “Follow me closely, because you have never been this way before. But, before you take another step, consecrate yourself afresh to me, so you will be well prepared to see all the amazing things that I am about to do.”
Your fellow servant,
Peter Francis – Principal