running away or returning

In Joshua 6, the Israelites have crossed over into the promised land. They have been given the city of Jericho and are sitting at the brink of Ai. But the Israelites have grieved the heart of God by disobeying Him and plundering from the city of Jericho. God leads them into a battle with the men of Ai and they lose.

At this, Joshua tears his clothes and begins crying out to God in frustration. He whines that things would have been better had they stayed on the other side of the Jordan. He so quickly forgets how they crossed the Jordan, what life was like on the other side and what even happened at Jericho….walls falling down at the blow of a horn.

I so recognize with this in myself. When life becomes challenging, or my story isn’t going the way I wanted it to, I immediately long for the way things were before. As if before things were better than now. I forget where I have been and what “miracles” God has done to get me here and I sit and mourn.

God tells Joshua to “get up!”. Someone has sinned and it must be atoned for. He reminds Joshua of the story that he is in and that God is writing. He reminds Joshua that he is there and moving in and among.

It reminded me of a portion of Henri Nouwen’s book the Road to Daybreak called Running Away or Returning.

It’s not easy to let the voice of God’s mercy speak to use because it’s a voice asking for an open relationship, one in which sins are acknowledged, forgiveness received and love renewed.” (p.158)

This is what God offers me on this side of the Jordan.

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