Joshua 7:7-11 7 “Oh, Lord God,” Joshua said, “why did You ever bring these people across the Jordan to hand us over to the Amorites for our destruction? If only we had been content to remain on the other side of the Jordan! 8 What can I say, Lord, now that Israel has turned its back and run from its enemies? 9 When the Canaanites and all who live in the land hear about this, they will surround us and wipe out our name from the earth. Then what will You do about Your great name?” 10 The LORD then said to Joshua, “Stand up! Why are you on the ground? 11 Israel has sinned…
I have a terrible sense of direction. I never know which way is north or south. If not for my wife, I would get lost on a weekly basis even going to places I have been to a dozen times before. Sometimes I think GPS was made just with Shawn Willson in mind. When I initially arrived in New Orleans I thought my sense of direction was going to a killer. For the first few weeks it was as I kept going the wrong way on trip after trip. Everything changed when I started allowing the Mississippi to be my guide.
I may not always get from point A to point B on the fastest possible route, but when I keep the Mississippi in mind I can always get in right direction by driving away from the river, toward the river, up the river, or down the river. I don’t really panic anymore when I am going somewhere for the first time. I don’t even use Google on every trip, because the Mississippi can help guide me.
Prayer, communication with God, can act as our guide to help us through the confusing times of our lives. We might not always make it to our destination as fast as we want. We might need to drive past the same landmark twice, but prayer can help the most misdirected of God’s children get back on the narrow road toward glory.
Share Your Confusion with the Father
Joshua followed the will of the Lord by leading His people into the Promised Land. Everything started off without a hitch. The Jordan River parted before the Ark. The walls of Jericho fell flat at the sound of their voices. The Lord promised victory, and He delivered at every step. Until Ai.
At Ai everything fell apart in defeat and Joshua looked the fool before the entire land of Canaan. What was Joshua to do in this moment when it appeared that God was not living up to His end of the deal. Joshua obeyed, but God did not bless. Thankfully Joshua shows us how to respond to times of confusion when we obey God, but things turn out far from our expectations.
Bring your confusion before God in prayer. Ask Him the hard questions. Pepper the throne with accusations and call on Him to live according to His own Word. Joshua brought each doubt and question before the Lord while assuming that God was going to glorify His great name. Don’t wallow in your own thoughts or groan to others, but share your thoughts and groanings with God during your time of prayer, so God can use your prayers to draw you back to Him.
Step Up and Walk in His Revealed Will
Once you have prayed your complaints, go to God’s Word and listen to His Word. He doesn’t want you to stay in failure and confusion. He wants you to step forward in righteousness and obedience. Joshua was told to stand up and deal with Israel’s sin. When you are confused it is a time for you to reevaluate your life, confess any hidden sins, and step forward in God’s way.
When you are in confusion over the state of your marriage, stand up and follow Paul’s wisdom in Ephesians 6. When you are in confusion over the bitterness and division in your church, stand up and love those who are embittered. When you are in confusion over the sickness and weakness in your body, stand up and pray for Christ’s strength to overshadow your weakness, so you can testify of God’s grace to others struggling with the same pain.
While you may not know why God brought division, defeat, heartache, or sickness into your life you can still be obedient to God’s revealed will during a time of defeat. Don’t allow the valleys in life to stop you from standing up and walking toward the mountaintops. God can teach you so much during a failure to help you to handle the times of blessing, so bring your confusion before and walk forward in obedience.