Anticipating Amazing Things!
by Colonel Bill D. Luttrell –
“The Lord will do amazing things among you…”
(Joshua 3:5 NIV)
New adventures are exciting–sometimes frightening, sometimes challenging, always a journey into the unknown.
Many years ago, while serving on the staff of the training college, a group of officer-friends decided to take a canoe trip down the Russian River near Lytton, Calif. It was an adventure! None of us were certified “canoe skippers,” and it was a “trial by error” learning experience. How do two nervous first-timers in a canoe coordinate the paddling and manage to “steer” the craft? How do two nervous first-timers in a canoe keep it upright in the first place? We spent more time in the water than in the canoe!
It took a while, but once we had mastered the basic technique we had a great time. We enjoyed the scenery, the fellowship–and the canoe trip down the river!
Joshua 3:5 highlights the significance of God’s challenge to adventure. Joshua was leading the children of Israel in taking the final steps toward their long-anticipated goal. They were about to take a great leap of faith, to cross the Jordan and claim their destiny as the children of promise, by claiming the land that God himself had identified as their possession, a land new and unfamiliar to them.
But not yet.
First, they were reminded to pause and examine their own spiritual condition, their consecration to God, the quality of their commitment to the accomplishment of his purposes. Imagine what it must have meant–consecration to advancing his purposes only. Did it mean consciously giving up the comforts of their familiar encampment to move boldly into–who knew what? Did it mean surrender of personal ambitions about claiming for themselves and their families the best the land had to offer, and to accept whatever God had in mind for them? Did it mean leaving behind prized possessions, or perhaps leaving dear friends who would be making their homes on the eastern banks of the river? Did it mean searching out, confessing and renouncing unacknowledged sin? Did it mean recognizing relational problems, personal differences that required reconciliation, in order to further God’s plans?
And did it really mean opening up to God the darkened chambers of the heart, the secret thoughts, the surrender of those things they did not want to admit stood between them and total surrender to his will?
“Consecrate yourselves,” Joshua said, “for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you.”
Can’t you picture it? Whatever the expectation–the promise of God loomed just beyond their reach. They could see it, green and inviting, beyond the water. Filled with faith, empowered by new consciousness of obedient submission and holy ambition, they moved forward, step by step. “God can do it…God will do it…God has for us…amazing things?” And miracles came to pass: obstacles were removed as the waters parted, the way was prepared as a dry path appeared, and the promised land was claimed.
“Consecrate yourselves,” Joshua had said, “for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you!” Amazing things, indeed.
Many officers in our territory have received word this week of a change of appointment and…the adventure continues.
Gwen and I are among this group. After 40 years of ministry in the Western Territory we have received our “marching orders” to journey to a new land. And we, like our officer colleagues, will “salute” and continue the journey. For us, as for others, farewell time is a time when we find we must stop and evaluate our ministry and mission. It is a time that calls for fresh consecration, a conscious “setting apart” of ourselves for God’s purposes. We go, once again, in faith, believing that God, who has been our strength and sufficiency in days past, will continue to lead in the days ahead. He who has done wonders among us is he who has promised amazing things in the future–and we know from experience that we can count on his promises.
As we continue our adventure in his name, we do so in thanksgiving to God for his unfailing mercy–and for the people of the Western Territory, from whom we have learned so much and who have loved and nurtured us in the faith.