There is nothing I have experienced quite so dark as the consuming sadness that follows an intimate betrayal. If you have experienced this trauma, I am so sorry. There is nothing I’m going to be able to tell you that will erase that pain. But if you find yourself searching for answers about how to heal from betrayal trauma, I do believe I can offer some solid advice.
We’ve been looking at the life of one of the most complex characters in the Bible, finding a treasury of lessons from the life of Joshua. But before we talk about his commitment to leaving a legacy of faith, let’s remember what we’ve already learned. He started out as Moses’s assistant, a minor supporting character and servant leader. During his time in that role, Joshua watched and learned. He communed with God, and his faith grew and grew and grew. Then Moses died, and Joshua was called to take over as the leader of Israel. The command for his life, “be strong and courageous for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go,” was demonstrated at the walls of Jericho, and then throughout the years when Joshua the warrior swept through Canaan, conquering the Promised Land with the army of Israel. We’ve come to know him as everything from a calm and easy-going leader to a fierce and savage warrior. We’ve been impressed by his willingness to do whatever is asked of him. But as his story starts to come to the end, we see a few final aspects of Joshua’s character, particularly his determination to leave a spiritual legacy, and find ourselves inspired one last time!
We’re working our way through a study of the life of Joshua. So far we’ve seen him as a servant leader under Moses in the first part, and then as a brand new leader, standing firm in faith at the walls of Jericho in the second. Now, in this third part, we find a new and terrifying role for him as Joshua the warrior comes to the forefront. God had taken more than 40 years to prepare him for a job only one person so far in history has done: lead the people of Israel into the promised land to conquer it. I often think this massive task is seemingly forgotten (or at least overshadowed by other stories), but it was a huge job! As Joshua emerged from the shadows, executing justice in obedience to God, we find he was a beast! After so many years as a quiet observer, Joshua steps up with an unexpected amalgam of character qualities, all relevant to those of us working to heal from the wounds of sexual addiction.
I hope you read part one of this series about the life of Joshua, because it helps us understand how we’ve come to this point in which we find Joshua at the walls of Jericho, stepping out as the brand new leader of the people of Israel. Though we did see him lead the army into battle once before, mostly we saw him learning, serving, and watching. We saw him sitting silently in the presence of God, meditating regularly upon the words of his Lord. Through Joshua’s example of servant leadership, we learned so much about what it looks like to be strong and courageous even when we’re simply learning quietly!
We also mentioned how the life of Joshua was kind of unique because he served so many different roles from beginning to end. In this part of the series, we’re going to look at another one of those roles. As leadership is passed down from Moses to Joshua, we’ll see a new kind of strength and courage from the new commander. No matter what God asks, we always find Joshua standing firm in faith!
I have always loved reading about the life of Joshua in the Bible. He has been one of my favorite Bible characters for as long as I can remember. The theme of his life was, “Be strong and courageous, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” From his first appearance in Exodus when we see Joshua as a servant leader, through Leviticus Numbers and Deuteronomy where we see him and Moses demonstrate one of the best examples of spiritual mentoring in the Bible, and all the way to the end of the book of Joshua, we find him as a man of integrity and faith.
Of course, a character who demonstrates such admirable qualities would bring valuable lessons to any believer, but I believe his example of standing firm in faith is of particular importance to those of us facing off with the monster of sexual addiction. Whether we are the addict, or the wife of the addict, Joshua’s strong and courageous life of victory can inspire us to go all in, as he did, to a life lived in passionate pursuit of our Lord!
After facing an intimate betrayal, or any other trial for that matter, we all have to figure out how to trust God in difficult times. We’re tempted to believe that when life is hard it’s somehow an indication that God has abandoned us, or that He is untrustworthy. But it is a lie. In times like these, passages like Psalm 37 offer encouragement, hope, and a wonderful model around which we can build prayers to calm our anxious hearts. The Psalm 37 message teaches us to delight in the Lord, it reminds us of the ultimate fate of both the wicked and those who choose to follow God, it reassures us that the Lord is fighting for us, but most important, it shows us exactly how to trust God in difficult times.
The Bible tells a story of a woman – a widow who persistently sought justice from an evil judge. Jesus encouraged us to approach our Heavenly Father with that same kind of persistence in prayer, knowing He will surely grant us justice – and quickly! This is the story of my own persistent prayer.
Sometimes we get so caught up in our own desire to be right, we miss out on being a part of God’s mercy. We choose judgement and misery over excitedly taking part in a miracle because we’ve forgotten how merciful He’s been to us! There is much we can learn from the Biblical account of the prophet Jonah.
It’s time to wrap up this Redeeming Thanksgiving series, and begin to prepare our hearts for Christmas. When we started the month out we asked God to set us ablaze with thanksgiving. We laid out the kindling and prepared the wood by committing to this study, and He cultivated that first spark with the promise of restoration. We learned how a thankful heart has the power to redeem for good what the enemy intended for evil. We fed that fire by learning how our gratitude leads to hope which fills us with the joy of the Lord, which is our strength. As the flames of His blessing spread, our praises grew and led us into the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding.
Then, last week, that inferno reached a new height. No longer was it simply spreading God’s blessings throughout our own lives, but it began to consume what didn’t belong. The devouring fire of our God sent the enemy running. Our praises demolished strongholds while reminding us of the ultimate victory, which is as good as won. It is my hope that today, as we conclude this series, the flames of gratitude will blaze from us onto the lives of those still lost and ignite a magnificent explosion of blessing across the whole world!
There is an awesome story in the Bible about what happened when one king decided to praise God, even in the face of certain death. When King Jehoshaphat of Judah led his people with a spirit of thankfulness, the enemy turned and ran. We can learn to do the same thing today!
Several months ago I had the honor of being asked to make a guest appearance over at Faith Beyond Fear. Of course, I was eager to accept, and when we decided on a publication date of last week I realized it would fall right in the middle of our Redeeming Thanksgiving series. So, I decided to tie what I wrote into that topic.
Peace – it’s a “state of being” more coveted than any other. How we all long for peace! We’ve created prestigious prizes to honor those who have contributed to the world’s quest to secure it; but the sad truth is, peace is unattainable through human efforts. No striving, no program, no method will work if they do not include God. It is only His peace, the peace that exceeds anything we can understand that will provide lasting comfort. It is only God’s peace that promises to guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus!
It’s no secret that God wants his people to be joyful. In John 15:11, Jesus tells His disciples, “I have told you these things so that you will be filled with My joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!”
In Galatians 5, joy is listed second, behind only love as a product of the work of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of believers.
But sometimes life just sucks, and it can be really hard to be joyful at those times. Especially when our specific situations start to feel hopeless. So let’s learn how a little bit of thankfulness can help us reclaim our joy!
Thanksgiving has been my favorite holiday for a long time, so when life made this time difficult, I had to learn to redeem what the enemy had broken. So, I’d love it if you’d join me through these weeks leading up to Thanksgiving here at His Dearly Loved Daughter as we focus in on cultivating a heart of thanksgiving. There really is great power in this one little discipline, so we’re going to reclaim what has been broken and hand it over to the Master Builder to be lovingly restored.
You guys, God is doing a work in my heart! Jesus is calling to me. I have been processing with Him ever since we got back from our trip to Senegal at the beginning of June. I’ve been almost paralyzed; unable to write because there were just so many thoughts swirling around in my head. I still don’t know exactly what He’s up to, but there are some things I do know, and I’d really love to share them with you.