The Upper Room devotional reflection for Monday, July 4, 2022 comes to us from Martha Knobel Maxham of Maryland.
1 After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses' aide: 2 "Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them-to the Israelites. 3 I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. 4 Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates-all the Hittite country-to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. 5 No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. 6 Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. 7 "Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:1-9 NIV
“Wherever We Go”
Our church decided to embark on a new ministry program teaching English as a second language. My job was to interview prospective students. After asking them where they had come from, I asked what they missed about their home country. I’ll never forget speaking with one young woman from Bolivia. As her eyes filled with tears, she haltingly said that she missed her mother and father and her family. Then she was wistfully, “I miss the mountains.” At that moment I realized what this woman had given up in leaving her native land.
In our scripture today, we read that Moses had died and that God had told Joshua that it was now his job to lead the Israelites to the promised Land. For some of them, they would be leaving the only home they had ever known. God told Joshua, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Whether we are moving to a new place, a new job, a new school, or reordering our life to begin on a more spiritual foundation, we too have the assurance that God is with us. And knowing that gives us courage to move forward.
In my life before ordination and as an itinerant United Methodist pastor, I have moved a lot. Certainly, my moves have not been nearly as dramatic as the one that the young woman in our reflection for today experienced. Still, I can relate to the need to trust God with all the emotions and practical changes that accompany any move from one home to another. From the minor challenges of learning my way around in a new setting to the profound challenge of becoming acquainted with new friends and settings while missing the ones we miss profoundly. The best way to navigate these challenges is to lean on God, trusting that God’s loving guidance will direct our journey and lead us down the path of faith.
Dear Lord, thank you for being with us always. Help us to cast our cares upon you, especially during times of change and transition. Amen.
--Martha Knobel Maxham
Thought for the Day:
I will let God be my guide, this day and every day.
The LORD is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1 (NIV)