“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”
I have been reading and following a chronological Bible reading plan this year and listening to The Bible Recap podcast. Reading through Joshua is mind blowing for me to really contemplate the 40-year journey Israel took in the wilderness. The experts say that journey should have only taken 2 weeks based on the actual distance. Two weeks flies by in the blink of an eye. One child gets sick and whatever I thought was going to happen that week can quickly get put off for two weeks. But forty years, forty years is my whole lifetime. It's easy to imagine the feelings of weariness that permeated the Israelite camp at times. When I really stop to contemplate 40 years it’s not hard to imagine how they got off track and didn’t remember how hard life was in Egypt or God’s faithfulness in rescuing them. It also highlights Moses’ faithfulness and obedience, although he too had times of weariness where he forgot and disobeyed. There have been many times where weariness has come knocking at my door. When present circumstances can make it feel hard to remember God’s faithfulness. This has been particularly hard for me and many during the last few years of uncertainty, social distancing, and illness. A season where meetings and ministry often happened through a lot of screen time and short-term missions’ groups have been few and where it seems like we take 3 steps forward and 2 steps back with every plan we make.
However, over the last few weeks I've been struck by what comes from walking in daily obedience to God. One day while listening to that day’s corresponding Bible Recap podcast I was reminded by the author to consider and reflect on the first 6 times the Israelites marched around Jericho. During six laps nothing happened. The whole army just marching in circles around the city, and nothing happened. How would we react today being a part of that or watching something like that happen? How do we react to that? How many times have we felt like nothing is happening, that we’re marching in place, or that our prayers aren’t being answered? I don’t think I’m alone in wanting or expecting faster or more dramatic results. We’ve reached the time of year in Monterrey when 100 degrees or higher temperatures are common. Our four-year-old tends to beg for the air conditioner the second we place her in car seat. And with reason, it’s hot, she’s four, and we’re still working on patience. However, she’s not the only one I’ve heard beg for the air conditioner getting into a sweltering vehicle. It seems us grown-ups are just as much in need of learning a little bit of patience.
How does that relate to desert wandering and marches around Jericho you may ask? Patience. We see examples of how Moses was faithful and obedient to God in the midst of those forty years. Joshua obeyed and led the army six times around Jericho. They were faithful and obedient even when the results weren’t evident right away. We don’t always have something tangible or physical to show for daily walking in obedience. The seasons that can seem desert like; the daily parenting routines of meals and dishes and homework and bedtime; the discipline of daily meeting with God even during the genealogies in Numbers; the attempt at daily exercise; all can be tiring and feel like there is no progress or end in sight. It can feel fruitless and futile.
It's hard as humans who want to think we have the power or control to "make” things happen, who live in the instant culture we live in to just walk in discipline. To walk in daily obedience even when we don't see results and "not grow weary of doing good." But it is there that God is still and always working. Because he's working on transforming our hearts and our minds and because the transformation and the outcome aren't up to us. He’s often after our hearts so much more than any other outcome.
I grew up on a dairy farm and while I seem to not have inherited any bit of the green thumb that the rest of my family has, I was witness and of course had to help with much of the hard work that goes into farming. There are no days off in dairy farming, every day there is something new to do for the health of the animals, to prepare the land and plant crops to feed the animals, the work is nonstop. Farmers prepare the land and plant the seeds in the spring, water the crops night and day in the heat of summer and work late evenings in the fall bringing in the crops. They work hard to do good work, but ultimately, they must trust in God because they have no control over droughts, hail, plagues etc. What they reap is not up to them but to God. They are faithful in the little daily things that ultimately bring about a harvest.
Today my encouragement is to remember that, for me to remember that because honestly, I’m quick to worry that all the work I put into planning in an attempt to make things go smoother will all be for naught because in the end I can’t control any of what is to come. But I can be obedient today. I can diligently plan today. I can obediently walk around Jericho six times or sixty if needed, even when it seems crazy or unexplainable and let God deal with tomorrow. I can discipline myself to faithful daily obedience in the small things because it’s there that God is doing a work in me and my heart. So, “do not grow weary of doing good" and walking in daily obedience, "for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”