As a child, recess brought anxious hope that I would not be last when sides were chosen for kick ball. Wait. High School ushered in wallflower years and disenchantment as I was passed over for honors. Withdraw. College brought the feeling of being way in over my head to the point that I switched my major. Fear. Adulthood gnaws that I'm squandering opportunity. I'd love to be God's go to girl, but He doesn't always choose me for assignments. Restlessness.
It isn't pleasant to feel overlooked. It's a frightening feeling to feel live is passing us over. The past emerges and points fingers of frustration, defeat and inadequacy. Lies. All of them. But I too often buy what they are selling. Until I read the resume of the applicant God chose for a whopper of an assignment.
Wanted: Leader for a stubborn, unruly nation. Someone to fill the massive shoes of Moses. Must exert decisive action while conquering a land of giants and fortified cities. Ability to sieze opportunity and unify the people under one purpose is required.
Only he never formally applied.
Born a slave. Bad start. Member of the wrong class. Before the exodus, he received army training in Egypt. He was working for the wrong side. Younger than most, without evidence of a strong father figure, Moses selected him as a helper. Living in the shadow of this leader could have made him envious. Skill acquired: Learned to receive instruction and obey wholeheartedly. Benefit: Got an inside view of the workings of leadership both the good and the bad.
Received his first big break when selected to the scout team for the final home of the nation. Because of his youth and discenting opinion, Joshua was not taken seriously when he advised moving forward immediately. Sadly overlooked, he could have felt disrespected. Through no fault of his own, he was forced to endure 40 dreadful years in the desert. Result: Aimless and wasted years they weren't. Benefit: When many of the people were laid low in the wilderness, the conditions toughened Joshua and strengthed his resolve.
The seeming pinnacle of his career came when he accompianed Moses to the mountain. For nearly a year Joshua camped close to The Most High, but Moses got to continue all the way to the peak and right into God's presence. Joshua didn't get the full privileges of Moses' personal contact and converstion with God. Joshua could only sit and wait. He might have felt shortchanged. However, he steadfastly waited for his leader to return. Outcome: First witness of the glory of God shining through Moses. Benefit: Undoubtedly building a belief that can not be shaken.
Continuing experience and qualification. Not much remarkable to say. Certainly he doesn't fit the typical mold of the fast track to stardom and power.
Interesting applicant. In all those 40 years Joshua only followed and assisted. He never gave orders and never was given control. Joshua only responded. He was overlooked by everyone. Except God.
Eventually, at just the right time, Joshua was commissioned publicly by Moses as the next leader. I don't get the impression that he was expecting to take over the nation. If so why would both Moses and God continually encourage him to be strong and courageous? Will those moments from his past point their finger of insecurity? Decades of having people overlook him could have eroded confidence in himself.
We have all been overlooked. I know it is too easy to fall into the temptation of believing the lies produced by feeling undervalued. I'm so encouraged by Joshua. God did not overlook and Joshua responded.
- God trained him for battle. Joshua learned skills as an army slave to later conquer a land.
- God gave him a teacher, Moses. Joshua gained a father figure and learned the right and wrong way to be a leader.
- God gave him vision. Joshua saw what could be when he scouted the enemy territory.
- God gave him examples. Joshua watched the people and learned the cost of disobedience and faithlessness.
- God gave him steadfastness. Through trials in the desert, Joshua learned to buck the trend and trust what God says.
Cinderella relished every moment of the ball, but planned to sneak back to her everyday life. She had no idea what was ahead for her. I don't live in a fairytale. But I also have no idea what lies ahead. I only know I'm never overlooked by God. That is enough for me.