“The Lord said to Joshua, ‘Stand up! What are you doing down on your face?'” (Joshua 7:10)
We’re human. As strong as we want to be or hope to be, our emotions often get the best of us and we all have our “Woe is me…!” moments. I’d be lying if I said I’ve never been saddened, confused, perplexed, upset, bitter, dejected, disheartened, or anxious towards God, about a position I’ve found myself in.
We see the same thing with Joshua, and it’s proof that it happens to the best of us.
After the defeat of Jericho, a man named Achan, son of Carmi, the son of Zimri, the son of Zerah, from the tribe of Judah, directly broke a command that God gave to the Israelites– he took some items from the plunder of Jericho for himself, which God explicitly told them not to do.
Achan’s sin and outright disobedience to God resulted not only in Israel’s defeat at the hands of Ai, but Achan and his family end up being destroyed as well.
After his men are killed from the first skirmish with Ai, listen to Joshua’s heartfelt and honest prayer to God. Remember that this is a man who’s seen God work in mighty ways over and over again, miracle after miracle, and that this response was immediately after God led the Israelites to a stunning and supernatural victory over Jericho.
“And Joshua said, ‘Ah, Sovereign Lord, why did you ever bring this people across the Jordan to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us? If only we had been content to stay on the other side of the Jordan!'” (Joshua 7:7)
We’ve seen this type of thing many times in the Bible, with some of God’s mightiest leaders and prophets. Elijah went from calling down fire from heaven and the destruction of 450 false prophets, to wishing he were dead. Jonah went from surviving certain death and living in a fish for 3 days by God’s mercy, to complaining the whole time afterwards about what God wanted him to do next. Peter went from vehemently defending Jesus and swearing to his loyalty, to denying he even knew Him– and not once but THREE separate times.
I think you get the picture, and I think it’s pretty obvious that we as humans can often be weak and petty, even knowing that God is with us and knowing full well of what God has already done in our lives.
The wonderful thing is that God doesn’t chastise us for being honest with Him. He is gracious, merciful, and patient as we go through our cycle of thoughts and emotions. But what’s even better, is that after we cry out to Him and let Him know how we feel, He offers us His peace that transcends all understanding as we give our circumstance over to Him.
God won’t use us if we choose to wallow in our sin and sorrow. God isn’t going to move in our lives if we’d rather choose defeat over the victory we have in Christ. God calls us to repent, trust in Him, and move forward. Undoubtedly the journey between repentance and moving forward may be long and challenging depending on our specific situation, but regardless, God wants us to lean on Him entirely as His love carries us from point A to point B.
Be honest with the Lord in prayer about anything and everything you’re going through, as He already knows how you feel and knows full well what you’re wrestling against. It’s okay to not be at your best 100% of the time, and it’s perfectly natural to get down once in a while. In those times, pour your heart out to Him, as He is faithful to hear and listen.
Then once you’re done, don’t stay there. As the Lord commanded to Joshua, “Stand up!”, knowing that the God of all creation is for you, as He is for all of His children in Christ Jesus. Your next victory awaits.