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Joshua 1:5

Sometimes, in life, God has a way of teaching us many lessons at once without us even being aware that we're learning.  It's only been in the last day that I've realized the Lord is growing me in many ways right now, which explains the tension and discomfort I've been experiencing.

Last night I was reading in my devotion "Morning and Evening" by Charles Spurgeon and the lesson focused on Joshua 1:5.  It was a passage I'd heard many times and often quoted as a catch phrase in lieu of "the right words."  The verse reads, "...Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you.  I will not leave you or forsake you." (ESV)  God promised He would never leave.  He promised He wouldn't turn away from Israel and that He would walk with us like He accompanied Moses for his entire life.

That's comforting to read, but it's even more comforting to think deeper about the verse's implications.  If God will never leave us, He would be considered inseparable -- He is permanently linked to us.  I don't know about you, but I like the idea of having the God of the Universe stuck to my right side.  It means I have constant access to His power, His knowledge (although not all of it because I'm not that smart and He made me that way), and His overwhelming perfect peace.  Yes, His peace -- that's priceless in and of itself.

This also means that any plans He has for me (as promised in Jeremiah 29:11-13) will be helped by Him because He is with me as I work to complete the tasks before me.  I don't have to do everything start-to-finish by myself.  (Phew!)  And, unlike my plans to become a famous musician or to complete the laundry before bed, His plans always line up and always work out.  Not only does He have impeccable timing, but I'm eternally linked to a God who physically, actually, really, CANNOT mess up -- EVER.  His plans will never be misaligned.  They will never fall through.  They will always deliver on the promise we first received.  This, my friends, is good news!

We could debate theological differences about the ability for a human to "mess with" God's plans, but regardless of where you fall on that issue, the truth remains: If God planned it, it's going to happen.  He can't fail.  God cannot fail, miss, mess up, forget, return empty, or negate His own promises.  Can't.  It's impossible.

Lastly, this verse speaks highly of God's promises and patience.  I currently work in a daycare at the YMCA and even though it's limited to two hours per child, there are many times I lose patience with kids.  After the 56th time of telling them not to throw trucks at babies or bite other kids, I tend to throw caution to the wind and hastily put the unruly child in time-out.  I leave them to think about the choice(s) that were made and sternly remind them why it was a bad choice.  Then I turn my back and walk away for their 2 minutes of "hard time."  To any toddler, this is torture.  They HATE being taken away from all the action and told that they were wrong.  Is it necessary?  (DUH!?)  Yeah, kids have to learn boundaries and many times the Time Out is because they're endangering another child.  Is it fun? (......) No.  It's not supposed to be.  Here's the bigger question: what are we teaching kids about love, grace, and kindness when we lose patience with their shenanigans?  That's what I'm asking myself right now and I don't have a good answer.

For every time I've messed up one of two things has happened: either someone caught me and called me out on it (which to an introvert is the most severe form of punishment, public or private), or I've been left to personally rationalize my actions to myself.  I actually prefer the first situation.  I hate having to rationalize something I know was wrong.  I can't win against myself.  Thankfully, because God can't ever leave me, I have the option to let the Holy Spirit give me a lecture.  That's certainly more grace-filled and helpful than any in-head argument I know I'm going to lose.

Additionally, this means that God doesn't lose patience with us and just leave us in Time Out to sort out all our wrongs.  He promised He would never forsake us.  He won't ever just turn His back and walk away.  This challenges my own behaviors in the daycare, but there are obvious differences between me and a toddler (I'd hope..).  Yet, we are all children of God.  We all throw tantrums at some point.  We all sin and intentionally disobey at some point.  We are all in places in life that require us to choose between spirit-led and desire-driven options.  And still, none of these things can cause God to revoke His promise to never leave us.

This morning, Spurgeon's devotion wrote, "Reader, if God has given you a divine promise, you need not plead it with an “if,” you may urge it with certainty. The Lord meant to fulfill the promise,you need not plead it with an “if,” you may urge it with certainty. The Lord meant to fulfill the promise, or he would not have given it. God does not give his words merely to quiet us, and to keep us hopeful for awhile with the intention of putting us off at last; but when he speaks, it is because he means to do as he has said or he would not have given it. God does not give his words merely to quiet us, and to keep us hopeful for awhile with the intention of putting us off at last; but when he speaks, it is because he means to do as he has said."  
(I like Spurgeon!)

So as I continue to wait today, all of these things reassure me that no one can mess with God's plans. Since (notice the certainty!) this is meant to happen, I get to trust that in all things, He's just setting me up to display His greatness. Right now, there are a lot of things staring me in the face saying "This is too hard. You can't do this -- it's just too much for one person to handle." Yet, we know that I am permanently and thankfully bound to a Savior that conquered death, defeated sin, and showed the entire human race what Love actually looks like. His plans never failed. Here I rest, standing on the promises of God.


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