So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, and said to them, “Go over before the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of the Jordan.
- Joshua 4:4-5a
Relief and exultation fill the crowd on the far side of the Jordan River. But the miracle hadn’t ended yet.
Representatives from each tribe would be sent back into the riverbed for a purpose that we’ll look more at tomorrow (you can read ahead in Joshua 4 if you’re really curious). Today, we want to look at the challenge of going back.
The Lord takes each of us on a unique spiritual and emotional journey. Some of the twists and turns along the way are painful. We’re glad we’re past them. We were so afraid, so unsure, so hurt. By God’s grace we made it through. We never want to go back.
But sometimes you have to go back.
Life’s curvy roads bring us back to places we don’t like to revisit. At times this is physical: you’re in your parents’ kitchen or walking the halls of your old school. At times this is emotional: you feel the way you felt back then. At times this is spiritual: the questions you thought you had definitively answered come back with new force.
And at times this “going back” experience comes to us for the sake of someone else: you go back into the fire because someone you care about is in there.
We re-tell our stories to give strength to others. We listen to people share – even if it stirs painful memories – because we know that our listening posture speaks loudly: “You’re not alone.” We revisit difficult, familiar territory with hearts open to the possibility that the Lord may have something new for us around this particular bend.
When has your path taken you back to difficult, familiar territory? What has the Lord done in your life when you’ve “gone back”? How have your “going back” experiences been used by the Lord to bless others?