September 22 I Tuesday
“Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live.”
Men of God, like Joshua, do not arrive on the scene out of the blue. In the second verse of the book of Joshua, God said to him, “Moses My servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the River Jordan into the land I am about to give them—to the Israelites.” This was Joshua’s first task as Moses’s successor.
We can read that passage matter-of-factly, thinking Joshua just happened to be there or was chosen randomly, but that would be a superficial reading. As a child in captivity in Egypt and for 40 years in the wilderness, God had been preparing Joshua in many important ways that included trials, hardships, battles, victories, losses, defeat and discouragement. God put it all to use in building Joshua into the triumphant warrior and leader he became.
In the opening verse, Moses stresses to the people the importance of remembering how God had freed them from slavery and provided for them in the wilderness. In his farewell address, Moses also recaps all that God had done to give them the land He had promised and urged them not to forget. Many people look back on past experiences and recall only struggle and hardship. It can leave them embittered or they may see it as God preparing and producing something good.
But God wastes nothing in our lives. He sees the whole picture from beginning to end, and while we are young, God begins significant work in our lives that will mold us into who He wants us to be.
In Lamentations 3:27, Jeremiah says, “It is good for a man to bear the yoke while he is young.” Many of us do not come to Christ until later in life, but we can still look back on the tough, painful times of our youth and see God’s hand at work. Tough, painful times are inevitable in our fallen world, but God works in them, and whatever raw materials He uses—whether weaknesses, failures, pains or struggles—He will bring good out of them.
If we have no experience of God in the past, we can begin to develop experiences with Him now. It will change how we respond in the battles we do not want or the circumstances we wish would disappear, as it will either drive us to God or from Him. Whether we have been a Christian for many years or have just recently come to Christ, we can look back with a grateful heart on past experiences, even the difficult ones, knowing God has used them to bring us to Himself.
Prayer: Dear Lord, there are many troubling things in my past that I do not have the answers for, but I know all will make sense when You are revealed. Thank You for being at work in my life.