Text: Joshua 19:1-51, Genesis 49:1-28, Acts 13:16-25
I was 10 or 11 years old when I first read Little Women. In the years before I opened that book, I thought reading and writing were “school” activities. I wrote stories because my teacher required it, not because I actually liked it. But Louisa May Alcott changed all that. She awakened something inside me, and I wanted in. So I pulled a blank notebook out of my desk, and I scribbled a story inside it.
Since then, my heart has drawn ever deeper into writing. Writing about God’s Word, and teaching it to others, makes my soul sing. I’m certain it’s the thing I was created to do.
However, it hasn’t always come easily. Around the time I dove headfirst into writing, God called me back to school. It felt like an obstacle to my dream, but not an insurmountable one, so I pressed on. Then, I got pregnant and had a baby. Then I got pregnant again and had another baby. All while I was still in school.
Between school and marriage and parenting, my attention was pulled in a lot of directions, and it wasn’t long before writing got put on the backburner. All the while, I watched as my writing friends achieved their own goals. One by one, they grew their ministries and published books, while I was lucky to steal an hour to write. My friends had reached the promised land, while I remained just outside it.
Waiting is always hard, but it is made especially difficult by comparison. When your friends or colleagues attain the thing you want, it’s tough to hold on to contentment. The ache is somehow heightened by the sight of another’s success.
When I read the story of Joshua, I wonder if he knew this ache. A skilled, lifelong warrior, Joshua wasn’t appointed to lead Israel until he was 90 years old. Then, he spent another decade guiding the Israelites into the promised land. After he accomplished all that, he dispensed the land to the twelve tribes of Israel. Only at the very end of the journey, and the very end of his life, after everyone else had received their inheritance, did Joshua receive his (Joshua 19:49-50).
Joshua waited a lot, and I wonder how the story might have been different had he been guided by impatience. I wonder how his leadership might have been compromised had his spirit been discontent. Thankfully, Joshua succumbed to neither. He was a man who waited well. Rather than pine for the life he wanted, Joshua made himself available to the will of God. His waiting was both active and fruitful.
I suspect Joshua did all this because he trusted God’s promises. He knew God would make good on His Word because He always does. From the start, God told Joshua what would be required to endure this particular journey: “Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them” (Joshua 1:6).
God always comes through. This was a truth that guarded the integrity of Joshua’s leadership. God promised to be with Joshua, to bring him success wherever he went (Joshua 1:7,9), and that’s just what He did. By trusting in God’s perfect timing, Joshua accomplished a lot through his waiting.
The story of Joshua reminds us that we don’t have to despair in the waiting. God’s promises are trustworthy, His plans are precise, and His timing is perfect—which means waiting isn’t a setback. It’s an opportunity.
Don’t waste your waiting. Your story is much bigger than the ending.
Sharon Hodde Miller is a writer, speaker, pastor’s wife, and mom of two boys. She is a regular contributor to Christianity Today and recently completed her Ph.D, which focused on cultivating the gifts of women in the church.