Every promise of God will have conflict associated with its possession. When we finally arrive in a place of promise many things will still stand between us and receiving the benefit of living in that new reality. It is in that place of tension that critical choices are made that will determine our future.
After a surprising defeat by a much smaller army, the leaders of Israel were dismayed. They did not understand why they were defeated by the small force from the city of Ai, the second of the ten cities Israel would need to defeat. The defeat came because of the sin of one man. That sin caused the entire nation to suffer and stumble in their mission.
Joshua, seen by many as one of Israel’s most courageous and faithful leaders, had his moment of doubt after the defeat at Ai. As Joshua cried out to the Lord wanting to know what happened, he said, “If only we had been content to stay on the other side!” (Joshua 7:7). The problem with Joshua’s comment was that it was made after Israel had miraculously crossed the Jordan River and were now standing inside the border of the Promised Land.
As believers in the New Covenant, we continuously live inside the Promised Land. Our Promised Land is not geographic or some futuristic heavenly dwelling. It is found in the person of Jesus Christ. We carry our Promised Land with us wherever we walk.
The COVID-19 pandemic, the current economic problems, our unresolved racial issues, and the cultural dysfunction we see being played out on our smartphones and computer screens, is what all of us are facing at this time in our history. None of these problems has the power to defeat the plans of God for all people and all nations are to flourish under the banner of His love.
When we find ourselves wanting to go back to what life was like before these painful issues arrived and we find ourselves uttering similar words of despair like those spoken by Joshua, we need to stop and correct our negative response. That correction will be sourced from the realization that we stand securely in the Promised One. Our act of faith is to bring every opposing thought into compliance with that reality. If we can do that, it will change how we view the current conflicts that can, at times, overwhelm even the strongest examples of faith.