10The Lord said to Joshua, "Get up! Why have you fallen on your face?"
Joshua 7In my middle school class, we're going through the Old Testament, and we've been talking about promises and identities. We're in Judges now, but a few weeks ago it was Joshua. Time and time again we read the words, Be strong and of good courage...I will not leave you nor forsake you...the victory is yours...be not dismayed...I am with you. God shoves at Joshua in ways that we don't expect. He tells him that he has won battles that are not even glimpsed on the horizon yet, and not only that, but he tells him to believe that those things are true.
In the darkest hour, the Maker assures His creations that He redeems and He is there.
In that classroom on the upper level of the children's ministry building, I've found that I've been preaching to myself these past few weeks. I came home today after teaching on Gideon and the lies that we tell ourselves and the truth of who we really are, and I was planting irises on my back patio and I thought,
Do I really believe what I told the girls this morning?
My answer was a resounding,
We took some time to write down the things that we feel about ourselves that aren't true and maybe limit us, and I put on the list "small" and "inadequate." Then we made a list of promises and truths about who the Lord says we are, and I wrote "called" and "chosen" and "designed with intention." I think I made them do that because I needed to do it. Because this morning I didn't feel like I was called or chosen or even designed intentionally, I felt small–very small, and inadequate.
I felt incapable.
And so I was honest, out there in my backyard surrounded by purple flowers. I told the Creator,
I don't. I don't think I believe everything I told them this morning. I feel unworthy and lost and less than and I don't know how to stop feeling those things.
And He replied gently in that way that He always does with a pressing on my spirit and a hope-filled grasp at my heart,
Get up daughter. Rise up. Why are you on your face when I have lifted you from this mire?
And that was it. I repented then and there of my pettiness and doubts. Because He was right, He is right. I am meant to be a Joshua. I am to cross my Jordans. I am a repairer of the breach, a restorer of paths, a right-hand redeemer, and a bringer of grace. No matter what I feel about myself in my darkest hours and my long valleys, I am not tiny. I don't need to stop feeling like I am though, I only need to realize that it's untrue.
I only need to believe that I am His.
I am being redeemed and He is with me.
This is just a simple truth that I want you all to know.
You are His.
You are precious and cherished and cultivated daily. You are called and chosen. You are designed with meaning and purpose. It is for you that He split the seas. It is for you He gave all. You are mighty and victorious. You are peculiar and ever-loved.
You are one sheep out of one hundred, and He left the other ninety-nine to seek you out.
So get up friends. Why lay in the dust from which you came? He has prepared a glorious position for each and all of us, and we can claim that identity with with power and certainty. We can tug at it and shake it and cry out,
I am new! I am new in Him and none can undo what He has done and promised! None can mar His intentions and perfect plan and beautiful design. I am new, I am new, I am new.
The darkest hour always passes, and it is when we realize that we are claimed, then we can step out of the wake of our dead selves and into the calling He has for us.
We are children of the King. Royalty and a priesthood, daughters and sons, princes and princesses.
We are worth more than the irises.