Labyrinth at Chartres Cathedral
If we took a moment to reflect on our lives, I am sure many of us could locate at least one moment that we found ourselves lost and confused about our future, the decisions we need to make, or simply uncertain about what is next. We are used to thinking about these moments individually, focused on how God is speaking to us, personally, guiding and directing us through it. It is no wonder that at this moment in time we are so completely at a loss. For, it is not just a momentary crossroads that one or two of us find ourselves in. No, this is a reality that is faced by all of us – communally, nationally, and globally.
Perhaps that is what has made our initial problem solving so ineffectual. We are too firmly cemented to the idea that we must figure it out on our own, that each of our personal choices will somehow work together in concert to magically wish this pandemic away. This perspective is what has compounded the problems and decisions we are facing now because they are not only being faced by a few, but by all of us, and so our responses need to be thoroughly, intentionally representative. We need more listening, compromise, and decisive action that will benefit the whole of us, not just a few.
God’s powerful promise to Joshua has always served me when I find myself in lost moments. I believe it can serve us now. The Israelites are at a crossroads. Their liberator and leader of 40 years has died. Where will they go? What will they do? Who will lead?
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 1:9 – NIV)
These words are directed to Joshua but for the community. God does not just want Joshua to believe in himself and then be on his merry way. God wants Joshua to step beyond his personal fear so that the Israelites can do the same, concluding with the promise that God will be with them wherever they go. No matter where they go, God is with them. Whether they know which way to turn or not, God is with them. Whether terrified, afraid, discouraged, or courageous, God is with them. Find security in this promise. Continue the journey, one step at a time.
As this pandemic has shown us, the steps we take as individuals make a huge difference to our community. We are finding that even if we don’t agree or feel comfortable with an action that must be taken, we need to do it anyway for the betterment of everybody. Everything does not depend upon our personal opinion. Rather, it depends on our ability to think beyond ourselves, to lead through our choices, for everyone. For many of us, this is a major shift in perspective, but our grounding in God’s promises remains the same. May we be strong and courageous, trusting God’s presence among us whether we are lost or found.
A prayer for the lost or found ...
God of all space and time,
You have promised to be with us wherever we go. Ground us in you so that we have the strength to continue to step forward each day, no matter how unsure we may be. Be our center so that we may courageously walk side by side with one another, no matter how scary or discouraging our surroundings. Lead us so we may lead others to live beyond our fears and into the new life you have in store for us. Amen.