They answered Joshua, saying, “All that you have commanded us we will do,
and wherever you send us we will go. Just as we obeyed Moses in all things,
so we will obey you; only may the LORD your God be with you as He was with Moses.
Anyone who rebels against your command and does not obey your words
in all that you command him, shall be put to death;
only be strong and courageous.”
We’ve been studying Joshua lately, and I’ve been trying to focus on new angles that I may not have noticed before. In the passage above, that angle came as I read “Just as we obeyed Moses…” I quickly flipped back to the preceding verses to make sure that I was properly attributing the quote. And I was—it was the Israelites that made this claim, without batting an eye. I wanted to yell, “Blasphemy!” Seriously?! Just as you obeyed Moses?
And how was that, exactly? By building and worshipping a golden calf? By whining and moaning all through the desert? By questioning Moses and God at every turn? By threatening to have Moses replaced as your leader? By refusing to enter the Promised Land for fear of its inhabitants? By failing to put your trust in God, no matter how many times He proved himself faithful?
Just like that, huh? I can only imagine Joshua’s response to that.
I could sit in judgment of the Israelites all day long, but you know what? God chose them as an illustration of humanity. And that means that many times, the way that I obey God turns out to be just as the Israelites obeyed Moses, which is not very well. So, to me, this passage was a reminder of grace—the grace God had for the Israelites and the grace that He continues to show me. Grace is often described as unmerited favor. And it is just as unmerited for me, and for you, as it is for anyone else. When we forget that is when we begin to place ourselves in a judgment seat that belongs to God alone.
May we view ourselves rightly, that we may also rightly view those around us.
“LORD, make me to know my end and what is the extent of my days;
Let me know how transient I am. Behold, you have made my days as handbreadths,
And my lifetime as nothing in your sight; Surely every man at his best is a mere breath. Selah.”
As I was lying in the hotel bed with Tijge, he took my hand and held it as he drifted off to sleep. I was reminded of a habit that we had briefly gotten into a few weeks before. He would lay down and go to sleep, only to wake up at around midnight—at which point, he would sweetly ask, “You want to lay by me a little minutes?” Of course I do. Well, invariably, I would fall asleep and end up spending the rest of the night with him.
At one point, Chris expressed concern that this might get to be too much of a habit. Probably, I reasoned inwardly, but then I thought about the day that would no doubt come—sooner rather than later—when I would no longer be able to comfort him; when I wouldn’t be “cool” enough to be seen with, let alone to lay or snuggle with. And then I will miss these nights, and I won’t remember the midnight wake-up call, or his tossing and turning, or my stiff back and neck. I will only, and very fondly, remember those few extra minutes with him each night.
Little minutes, indeed.
Thrity-four. That’s how old Wren was when she passed away. She was younger than I am now, and had three young children, ranging in age from one to five years old. I can’t say I knew her well, but I could tell that she was a godly woman of great faith. And I’m sure that she thought often during her final months of how much she wanted to say to her kids and her husband—but there just wasn’t time to fit it all in. Between cancer treatments and the more mundane duties of motherhood—not to mention wanting to spend every spare minute enjoying the company of family—who wants to spend their last days holed up on an office, writing it all down? And how do you decide which of your insights are most important? Worse still, what if, when your time comes, you have no advance notice, no time to even say good-bye, let alone share any parting wisdom?
So, since Wren passed away, I’ve ramped up my efforts to record, well, everything: photos; quotes from the kids; my own thoughts, feelings, experiences—basically anything that will allow my kids to see into my heart; my heart for them and for Jesus. And even if I live to a ripe old age, I imagine these memories will be a valuable window into the soul of an old woman they know simply as “Mom.”