As I was glancing through chapter after chapter I realized how much they had to fight to get where God promised them they could be. I'm thinking it would have been a lot easier for them and God had He just picked them up and put them where He wanted them. But would they have grown?
I read over how they faced struggle after struggle in many different ways. They marched around Jericho and saw it's walls crumble right before their eyes. The crossed the Jordan river, which sounds simple - but it's not. Because of Achan's sin they were defeated at Ai; but eventually came back and won the territory.The sun stood still as they fought at Gilgal. And the list goes on until they reached the promised land, divided it up and began to settle in.
The Children of Israel faced so many ups and downs, struggles and victories over their journey. But God provided everything they needed along the way. Recently, I did some reflection on how He has provided for my son and I on our long journey too.
We can look at the history of the Israelites and see how God took care of them. He rained manna and quail down from heaven, provided fresh water from a rock, carried them across two seas, and put up with all their whining and moaning and groaning all along the way.
The more I think about it, it seems to parallel my life as a caregiver - at least the whining part! lol.
Where my thoughts settled after refreshing my memory on all this was in Joshua chapter 22. Yes, they had been complaining over the years, yes they had made mistakes. The earth literally ate the sons of Korah, Achan sinned at Ai, they created and worshiped a golden calf - idolatry and unfaithfulness was rampant all the way through. Yet here in chapter 22 of Joshua we find one of my favorite (yet little known) characters in the Bible, Phinehas.
Reuben's bunch built an altar and the priests questioned if it was acceptable or not. It wasn't protocol. Phinehas led the charge against Reuben's crew. How dare you build an altar to another god! Phinehas charged. But Reuben explained that they built it to remember what God had done for them. And so that when future generations asked about it they could be told of how God provided and cared for them over the long journey.
The two things that stand out to me are these. One, Phinehas' passionate protection of worship. He was adamant that they were not going to worship anyone but God. Secondly, Reuben's worship of God. He set up the altar so they could remember all God had done - not so they would remember all the bad stuff.
The caregiving journey is not an easy one. There are battles and struggles all the way and on many fronts. We face giants and Jerichos pretty much every day. Our own thoughts can attack us until it can be hard to stay the course. I want to be like Phinehas in the sense that I protect my heart from setting up an altar to anything other than God. And I want to be like Reuben who only remembers the struggles as a way to focus on all God has done.
In the most difficult circumstances, God has provided quite literally more than I could have ever imagined. I will be the first to say it's a difficult way to walk - but I'll also be the first to shout how God has taken down the giants that were in the way. And I have to admit, I've been a lot like the children of Israel, fussing and crying and moaning and complaining all the way out. But God has been faithful and I want to remember like Reuben all His works and how He's brought us to a good place in Him even though it took many battles to get there.
Today, I will meditate on all the works of God I've seen as on the caregiving walk. My focus will be on His faithfulness, His patience, His provision and His focus on caring for me. As I reflect on this journey and His faithfulness, I will express my gratitude to Him for all He has done. I'll smile. And I'll rest in Him knowing He's got me for one more day. Will you join me?