The might of God both obvious and not-so should provide comfort for all who follow God. We should also be aware of it such that we do not wander far away. We read the triumphant story of Joshua yesterday, and today we read lament.
This lament is that of a person (in fact, a people) who has lost everything. They’ve lost their mooring to self, identity, nation, security. All that was had is now gone.
This rhythm of victory of God to leaving God and back again is pretty consistent in the history of Israel. It is also part of our lives.
It may not be as dramatic, yet the littlest steps that Israel followed away from God eventually led to their walking fully away from God. It can be the same for us.
We can also walk away for a short time or a long time. Whatever it is that drew us away from God may keep us away longer than other things.
Often, though, we get lost in our heads and hearts, and the evil one and evil thoughts keep us isolated from God. We allow the evil one and these thoughts between us and God. God’s still there.
Let’s read 2 Corinthians 7:2–6 as if God (striking the problems) were writing the letter to you…“Make room in your hearts for me. I didn’t do anything wrong to anyone. I didn’t ruin anyone. I didn’t take advantage of anyone. I’m not saying this to make you feel guilty. I’ve already said that you are in my heart so that we die and live together with you. I have every confidence in you. I’m terribly proud of you. I’m filled with encouragement. I’m overwhelmed with happiness while in the middle of all your cares in the world. When I arrived in Bethlehem, I couldn’t rest physically. I was surrounded by problems. There were problems with foreigners, and there were problems in my extended family. However, I want to comfort you who are discouraged…I know about your desire to see me, how you were sorry, and about your concern for me, so that I was even happier. Even though my letter hurt you, I don’t regret it. Well—I did regret it just a bit because I see that letter made you sad, though only for a short time. Now I’m glad—not because you were sad but because you were made sad enough to change your hearts and lives. You felt holy sadness so that no one was harmed by me in any way. Holy sadness produces a changed heart and life that leads to salvation and leaves no regrets, but sorrow under the influence of the world produces death. Look at what this very experience of holy sadness has produced in you: such enthusiasm, what a desire to clear yourselves of blame, such indignation, what fear, what purpose, such concern, what justice! In everything, you have shown yourselves to be innocent in the matter. So although I wrote to you, it wasn’t for the sake of the one who did wrong, or for the sake of the one who was wronged, but to show you your own enthusiasm …my bragging has also been proven to be true, just like everything I said to you was true… I’m happy because I can completely depend on you.”
Okay. It’s a stretch. The underlying truth isn’t a stretch. There is nothing that keeps God from wanting a relationship with you. Not a thing. Everything you’ve done…irrelevant. Everything you’ve thought…wiped away. Everything you’ve felt…embraced.
You are a child of God.