“Sarah, you can’t do that here. It’s neither practical nor realistic. Your idea hasn’t been done before here and we don’t think that people will embrace your plans.”
I don’t know how many times I’ve heard these words or similar perspectives with my ideas and plans. So, I’m not unfamiliar with obstacles, rejection, resistance, criticism and outright hostility. At the same time, I know that getting to a goal or accomplishing something can be a long process and also that achievements go hand in hand with obstacles and resistance. Perhaps the obstacles and resistance make the achieving of goals all the more significant and important.
Welcome to the last episode in this blog series on transition. If you haven’t looked at the previous blogs in this series, I’d encourage you to scan them because I think that they could be really helpful! When we think about transitions, we have to look at both the processes and obstacles that go with change.
In this series, we’ve been looking at Joshua, Moses’ successor, to gain some helpful insights so that we can navigate transitions effectively and with poise. With change and transitions, there is always resistance and obstacles. Maybe resistance is an integral essential that goes with change. Maybe obstacles are part of the requirement that change demands. Indeed, if there’s no change, there are usually no obstacles.
As for Joshua, he had some obstacles that he had to overcome when he led Israel to conquer and settle into the Promised Land. Joshua faced not only physical obstacles, like Jericho and various cities that he fought with, he also faced obstacles in the forms of setbacks, natural resistance and armies that Israel fought against.
When we look at some of these obstacles, it’s important to know that after Israel’s supernatural victory in Jericho, they suffered a big defeat when they attacked the next city called Ai. From a military perspective, Ai should have been an easy victory, maybe even assumed. But Israel lost in the battle against Ai, and this forced Joshua to evaluate, take inventory, of his efforts and soldiers. When Joshua talked with God about the setback at Ai, he learned that there was sin in the camp of Israel, and someone had chosen to go against God’s directives. Clearly, Israel suffered a setback with the defeat at Ai and it was necessary to evaluate and make adjustments.
This is exactly what Joshua did. He stepped into the setback and participated with God’s instruction. Joshua did an evaluative exercise with Israel to find out who caused the defeat and setback at Ai. You can read about this in Joshua 7-8.
For us, I think that we can learn from how Joshua navigated the defeat and setback at Ai. Sometimes, when we experience defeat and / or setbacks, we want to quit and go somewhere else. But we can choose to learn and adapt from our setbacks and defeats when we choose to nestle into God. It’s important that we embrace nestling into God because setbacks and transitions are the nature of being human. Just because you experience setbacks and obstacles during a transition, this doesn’t mean that you aren’t going in the right direction. Keep your focus on God, learn, grow, get stronger and keep going!