Monday, October 21, 2013

Patience is a Virtue...even when it's forced on us.

I've recently been doing a study on Gideon, which of course is in Judges, which of course begins with the death of Joshua, which of course made me think of the life of Joshua...and because my mind is always chasing the rabbit trails, that's how I wound up headed down a trail toward Joshua and into today's post.

Joshua was an amazing leader brought up under Moses. The things he witnessed...well, I know I'm not supposed to covet, but how I'd love to have seen some of those things! The battles won. The miracles seen. Standing at the foot of the mountain while God gave out the Ten Commandments? And then there was leading the Israelites into the Promise Land. Wow.

But let's back up, because it's stepping into the Promise Land that I want to talk about. See, Joshua had stepped into that land forty years before he lead the Israelites there as one of the twelve spies sent to check it out under Moses. He'd seen the land and he'd seen the giants, yet his faith did not waiver. He came back to report that the land was good, and they could take it. He fully trusted God to deliver the land as He promised. Which makes this point in his life so hard to bear.

See, Joshua was only two of the twelve. Israel sided with the other ten, allowing fear to steal God's promise from them. And as Joshua tried to change their minds (along with Caleb) he was nearly stoned to death. While he was spared from death, it was because of these men and women that Joshua would not enter the Promised Land for forty more years. Forty. As in four decades.

When he'd seen the land he should have been in. When he'd believed in God's promise. When he'd had the faith. And yet he had to sit and wait...

Knowing God would have given them the land.
Still being respectful to the leadership over him.
Still being faithful to God.
And eventually leading their descendants into the very land their parents hadn't had the faith to enter.

Talk about patience. Talk about character building. Joshua didn't badmouth Moses for not taking a stronger stand. He didn't allow bitterness for his fellow Israelites to grow. He didn't rage at God for making him wait with the rest of them. And he didn't give up on those around them--he waited. See, Joshua realized he couldn't control the fact that he was waiting, but he could control his attitude during the wait.

And his actions after.

Forty years pass and then Moses dies. Joshua is placed in leadership. It's finally the moment he's waited for. And because he handled the waiting correctly--growing in God, remaining faithful, focusing on the promise God had given--he was positioned to fulfill God's plan for his life.

Sadness over Moses' death would not stop him. The raging waters of the Jordan would not stop him. Giants in the land would not stop him. Joshua had waited, knowing, for forty years that the land was theirs. He'd waited forty years to exercise his faith and grab God's promise for him. He'd allowed God to work in his life even when it was painful and seemed unfair, and when God finally said go, Joshua ran.

Oh, I want to be like Joshua! We all have a promise land. A place God has prepared just for us. Some of us have caught glimpses of it, and for whatever reason we are on hold, waiting to enter it. Our faith is ready, but things around us may not be. Maybe a few things around us have to die first. Maybe others who need to take the journey with us just aren't ready. Possibly, if God's molding us into a leader, we aren't ready quite yet. Whatever the reason, we need to approach the wait with the same character of Joshua. Not growing bitter over the glimpse we received of the land, but allowing that to flame the fire in us to reach it. Using the wait for our character and faith to continue to grow, so that when God has everything prepared, when God says GO, we don't just idly walk to that place, but we run.

Where are you today? In the waiting or the running? I'd love to hear. Leave me a comment and I'll be praying for you:)


  1. I'm running in some areas and waiting in others. :) But man, how I resonated with this post--the title alone made me smile. I LOVE your last line: Using the wait for our character and faith to continue to grow, so that when God has everything prepared, when God says GO, we don't just idly walk to that place, but we run.

  2. I had never considered this aspect of Joshua's journey before now, but you're so right. It would have been easy for him to resent his buddies and Moses's leadership, but instead, he chose to remain faithful and trust God's timing. Love this, Susan!