Going Nowhere or Getting Ready?
"Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them …" Joshua 1:2b (NIV)
I was poised to take the next step in my career and ministry. My three boys were getting older. Life was moving in a sweet groove. Finally, after years of childrearing I was ready to take my work to the next level. Then God stepped in with a shocking request that changed everything.
One minute I was sitting in a woman’s conference, enjoying the speaker’s story. The next, God was pounding on my heart to adopt from Africa. Surprised would be an understatement. Terrified was more like it. But the surety of the request was undeniable.
It took my husband about 60 seconds to agree, and then about six months for us to be certified. But just months after that, two little Liberian sisters (ages 8 and 11) walked into our hearts and homes, and my professional plans came to a halt.
Although we knew their needs would be great, we hadn’t fully understood the multiple wounds those years of deprivation would cause them. Nor the complicated issues we would face. But one thing was certain: My physical and emotional presence was required.
So I started to say "no" to other things. No to new opportunities. No to my old dreams. No to going where my heart thought I was finally headed. And "yes" to caring for my two daughters.
In my prayers, I clearly heard God say this time of stepping back would be three years. I think God didn’t want to overwhelm me, because it’s going on 10 now. And in the beginning, I thought for sure God had replaced my career and ministry dreams with His calling to care for two little girls. And I was completely fine with that.
What I know now, is that not only did God give me the assignment of raising my daughters, He also equipped me for a future I didn’t see coming.
God was taking me somewhere, only I couldn’t see where. And those years that felt like I was going nowhere in my career? They were years of preparation for what God had planned next.
In the Bible, God often told His people to get ready for what was coming next — even when they had no idea what that meant. In our key verse, the Israelites had left Egypt 40 years prior and were close to the land God had promised them. Yet it still must have looked impossible to get there. Not only was there a nation to conquer, but there was a swollen river before them. And yet God said, "Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them …" (Joshua 1:2b).
Getting ready takes on many forms. There’s the practical side of getting ready, like packing a tent. But getting ready for what God has planned next is often a spiritual task. The Israelites had to reaffirm their trust in God to do the impossible. They had to submit to His lead and not their own, and they definitely had to wait on God’s perfect timing.
And that’s what happened to me. God needed me to get ready for the next step in my life. In order to do that, I needed to become more dependent on His strength, and less on my abilities. My heart had to be stripped of any remnants of pride and judgment of others. I had to discover the power of the Name of Jesus in a way I’d never experienced from just reading about Him. All of this took time.
What I didn’t see 10 years ago were the doors of opportunity God would open from my home, allowing me to work around my family commitments. I didn’t see how the Internet would grow and allow ministry around the world. But God did.
God knew his plans for me 10 years ago, and they involved my getting ready.
Maybe you feel like your plans have come to a screeching halt. Do you think opportunities are passing you by that won’t come again?
Don’t despair. The Israelites didn’t see that God was about to do multiple miracles. All they were told was, "Get ready." Maybe that’s just where God has you. If so, what’s coming next is going to be amazing. So get ready.
Heavenly Father, Your plans for me are perfect. Help me to trust You more and get ready for what You have planned. And Lord, please give me patience as I wait on Your perfect timing. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Joshua 3:5, "Joshua told the people, ‘Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you.’" (NIV)
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Has God changed your plans or priorities lately? What are some of the emotions you are experiencing?
What work might God want to do in your life (or heart) to get you ready for what’s coming next?