Sometimes the bible really makes me giggle! Verse 1 of Chapter 13 in Joshua really tickled me. In the ESV translation it begins with;
“Joshua was old and well advanced in years…”
This is already funny to me because it separates age and the number of years. I can just picture all sorts of characters to illustrate this concept in my head like the elderly body builder with stripey trunks and bulging biceps, or the granny wearing a floaty purple number and flowers in her hair dancing the night away at a party, or the very serious bespectacled little boy with his nose in a book and the weight of the world on his shoulders. I guess some people are old before they have lived long, and others are still young despite many years. But I love how God agrees with the statement and tells him…
“You are old and advanced in years!”
You see God’s view of us is not always the same as our own. We can have our view of ourselves obstructed by our experiences or insecurities, we can be influenced by pride or pain or doubt, or swayed by other people’s opinions, but God sees us as we truly are. He has known us since before the foundation of the world and He is not fickle with His opinion based on how the seasons change! He loves us with an everlasting love but at the same time is not shocked or surprised or caught out by our failings or shortcomings. He even knows the hairs on our heads and the motives of our hearts. He sees the end from the beginning – knows the calling, gifting, temperament, circumstances, opportunities He has put in you and the potential that you hold for reflecting the image of His Son. So, no, His perspective is not always the same as ours, and His view of us does not always agree with ours! But on the occassions where they overlap there is such comfort and grace to be found.
“Joshua was old and advanced in years, and the Lord said to him, “You are old and advanced in years, and there remains yet very much land to posses…. I myself will drive them out before the people of Israel…” Joshua 13:1 and 6
You see God knew exctly where Joshua was at. He saw how he had led and fought and travelled and conquered and given it his all, now he was old and not just in years but the other sort too. He had given all that he had to give and God agreed with his view and speaks encouragement and grace for all that there was still left to do. I love that when we are in such seasons (old age, tired, worn out, new baby, sick, grieving etc) God has extra grace for us. He does not push us beyond our capacity, although sometimes it can feel like it, He knows what we are capable of better than we do.
We went out for a little walk in the woods this morning. After a happy half hour or so of picking blackberries and spotting dogs my six-year-old started to get tired, and she began to moan, and she tried her hardest to persuade us that she really needed someone else to give her a piggy back! But as her parents we knew it wasn’t a very long walk and that she is healthy and strong, and that walking up that little slope which makes her legs ache a tiny bit is actually good for her (even if she didn’t believe us). Sometimes we are tempted to believe that God doesn’t take into account our weakness when actually He is working all things together for our good and for His glory. He never gives us more than we can bear. His grace is sufficient and His power made perfect in our weakness! But there are also points, like this one for Joshua, when we have fought, given, prayed or served our all and need to know…
“As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.” Psalm 103:13-14
What a kind Father we have! He knows what His family needs. He knows each of us and He knows our capacity and season. And He will still give you all the ground He has promised! He will still carry through to completion all that He has started. He will, just like with Joshua, continue to drive out the enemy and keep us taking ground even when we are old and advanced in years!
I’m praying you might know His incredible grace in whatever season you find yourself, and that you would know that you are seen and known and loved utterly by Him who is the very definition of Love.
Thanks for reading. Love Rach x