This week millions of children went back to school, well, sort of. Most are going to online school. This has put an enormous amount of stress on families – especially single parents who work, two-income families, and families with a variety of other difficult scenarios.

And for those without kids in school, things are still very different. Nothing is “normal”!

We have never passed this way before.

So, what can you do to be successful in this new way of doing things? God gives us a clue in the Book of Joshua.

Joshua was about to lead millions of people across the Jordan river into a land they had never been in before. Let’s see what God told them:

“Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure. Do not come near it, that you may know the way by which you must go, for you have not passed this way before.” Joshua 3:4

What was it they were supposed to follow? The Presence of God.

He clearly said that since they did not know the new land, that if they followed the Ark of the Covenant – His Presence – they would be successful.

Now here’s the thing, there were two different groups of people who both had the opportunity to go into the Promised Land. The first group, forty years earlier, looked at the land, were intimidated and fearful, then spread that fear to everyone else. They never went in and died in the desert.

They had left what was normal to them and would not step courageously into the new land.

The second group responded differently. Even though they were nervous (God told their new leader, Joshua, not to fear four times in nine verses), they left what was familiar to them, marched forward, following God’s lead, and they were very successful!

It will be the same with us.

This morning, I didn’t do such a great job at it. Today my kids started online school. I always start my day with Jesus. I get up before everyone, make my breakfast, then get my coffee, the Bible, and I sit at the end of the dining room table and pray. I follow His lead. It clears my head, helps me prioritize my day, fills my heart with His love, and gives me strength. This is a critical practice for me, especially now as my wife is undergoing horrendous chemo treatments, having five teenagers, and pastoring the church. It is how I survive. It is how I thrive.

However, rather than getting up earlier than usual to make sure this happens, I laid in bed. Ever done that? Well, I got up and had about five minutes to myself, then the circus began. I went to bed late last night because one of my kids was not prepared. (He had plenty of time to play Xbox, right?) Then, this morning another child did not have his computer ready for his Zoom and his class began in fifteen minutes. I had to scramble to make it happen – I went off on him. Oh, and by the way, he is autistic. I know, it was not one of my best parenting moments. (I apologized later). Hopefully, I will do better tomorrow.

I know this is not to the magnitude of taking the Promised Land in the Bible, but this is my promised land. My family and God’s family are the two most important things in my life, and I am responsible to lead both well. Everything is different and I need to follow God’s lead to be successful. So, do you.

  1. What is your promised land?
  2. How is God leading you to do things differently?
  3. What will you do to follow God’s lead?