Beyond our victories. Beyond our defeats. Beyond our somewhere-in-the-middles. If we hope to fulfill God’s destiny in our lives, we must refuse to settle for anything less than God’s plan. But sometimes it’s easy to get stuck.
Israel got stuck after the victory at Jericho (Joshua 6). It had been a magnificent feat. You know the story. The people marched around the city seven days, then on the seventh day, with a blast of the trumpet and a shout from the army, the walls of Jericho disintegrated. The city fell, giving Israel their first triumph on the road to the Promised Land. But it was almost their last. They got stuck in their success. Unknown to them, the waves of winning had left a deposit of sin. They settled for not seeking the Lord before the next battle at Ai, and the consequences proved devastating (Joshua 7:11-12).
They got stuck again—this time after defeat. They became so mired in the loss at Ai that Joshua even questioned God as to why he had brought them from Egypt only to be defeated by the Canaanites. “If only we had been content to stay on the other side of the Jordan!” They couldn’t go back. Couldn’t go forward. Only after they sought the Lord and dealt with the sin, could they move on to victory. To the Promised Land.
I have a friend who freely admits how he can get “stuck” when all is going well. Success in his business tends to lessen his pursuit of God. Like Israel, his natural tendency is to shift his reliance on God to himself, especially if the next project is one he thinks he can handle on his own. He settles for what he can do rather than pushing on toward something higher, something exceedingly better.
I’m more prone to get stuck after defeat. Rather than trusting God to bring redemption, I focus on my failure. I echo Israel’s complaint, “Why did you bring us this far to let us fall?
Do you fall into either of these camps? You don’t have to. Neither do I. The Holy Spirit will always help us get unstuck. Ask him. Don’t settle for anything less than the Promised Land.