FROM PASTOR MIKE’S DESK:
Dear Brothers & Sisters in Christ!
There is nothing like driving down along on a smooth country road on a beautiful summer day. With the windows down, the sunroof open, the wind blowing in my face, clearing my mind and just soaking in the sun and God’s creation … I could drive for a while.
And then BAM!!!! I’m jarred from dream of smooth country roads by a massive pothole! I continue to drive along, praying the tire sensor light on my dash doesn’t come on, and BAM!!! Another pothole! Paying more attention now, I realize that in order to miss all the potholes, I have to swerve back and forth, from side to side. If you didn’t know it, you would probably assume that I was drunk.
Isn’t this how life feels like sometimes. You’re going along and BAM!!!! A heart attack, cancer, a stroke, a broken bone. You’re going along and BAM!!! A close friend or family member dies. You’re going along and BAM!!! A car accident. You’re going along and BAM!!! The roof needs replacing, siding has been blown off your house, a tree falls over and hits a building. BAM!!! BAM!!! BAM!!! BAM!!!
I envision Moses and Joshua feeling this way as they led the Israelites in the wilderness and around the Promised Land. God frees the Israelites from the Egyptians through the Red Sea and BAM!!! The Israelites are soon complaining and grumbling to God about how life was so much better for them in Egypt because they had food to eat. God provides manna and quail and things are good for a while. And then BAM!!! More grumbling, more complaining, more whining about how pitiful things are for them.
It’s no wonder Joshua had some anxiety in being the next leader of the Israelites after Moses died. Not only was he in charge of leading millions of people into the Promised Land, he also knew how the people were, how they didn’t always listen and trust in God’s Word and command.
Pothole after pothole after pothole, Moses got frustrated with the Israelites and didn’t follow God’s command, which lead him to now being able to enter into the Promised Land.
Pothole after pothole after pothole, Joshua was frustrated with the people and their lack of trust and dedication to God. Towards the end of his life, in Joshua 24, he basically tells them, “Listen! You’ve got two choices. You can follow the gods of your forefathers which they worshiped while back in Egypt or … you can serve God. It’s up to you, but for me and my house hold, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:14-15).
It’s easy to want to make ourselves the center of our universes. It’s easy to be like the old Burger King slogan and “have it your way.” IF we could have it our way, then every road we ever travel on would be perfectly smooth. There would be no problems in life. There would be no potholes to slow down for or to swerve and avoid.
But that isn’t how life is though. Joshua is told three times before Moses dies to “be strong and courageous”. Joshua is again told three times before he leads the Israelite people into the Promised Land to “be strong and courageous”. This journey for Joshua was not going to be easy.
Our Christian life isn’t easy either. The writer of Psalm 55 says, “Give your burdens to the LORD, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall” (55:22 NLT). Peter says “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you” (1 Peter 5:7 NLT). Paul says, “Share each other’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2 NLT). Matthew records Jesus saying, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light” (11:28-30).
The road to paradise with Christ is rough, has hills and curves, isn’t easy, and has potholes. But as we travel this road, we have one who walks along with us. With the Holy Spirit living and dwelling in the hearts of Christians, Christ walks along with us on this road and leads and guides us to a time and place where the streets will be smooth. In the new creation to come when Christ returns, John writes in Revelation 21 that “The great street of the city was of pure gold, like transparent glass” (21:21 NIV84).
As we live and move and have our being in Christ, remember you are not alone, for God goes with you. Rejoice in knowing that you can call on Him at any time along our life journey. With our living Savior being with us, there is no need to be anxious about when we hit the next pothole, for he will help us through, all the way to eternity.