The rain had been coming down in torrents for the last twelve hours. Water had been seeping through our "leak-proof" tent all night. My husband and I could hear the not-so pleasant cries of frustration from our friends in the tent beside us as they tried in vain to keep their belongings from getting wet. Finally, close to midday, the rain let up and we decided to go on a canoeing excursion. The simple trip turned out to be a journey than none of us had expected.
Twenty minutes into the four-hour canoe trip it began to sprinkle. Half an hour later the rain was rapidly filling our canoes. Two hours into our journey and we hit a rough spot in the river. And when I say "hit," I mean literally hit! The canoe my friend and I were in slammed into a tree that was submerged under the water and we flipped over, nearly drowning both of us in the process. Close to two hours later we managed to make it back to our campsite and pack up our waterlogged belongings. We had paid for the long weekend, but none of us wanted to stay one moment longer than necessary. We were ready to go home!
Home--what a lovely thought! After such an ordeal anyone would be ready to go home to a toasty fire, snuggle up in a warm blanket and read a favorite book. That must have been how the Israelites felt when Joshua told them they were going to be heading into the Promised Land. Finally! Their simple trip from Egypt to Canaan had turned into forty years of wandering around in a hopeless desert. Finally, they were going home! All that was left was for them to enter into that Promised Land . . . and kill off their enemies.
Wow, maybe they didn't feel so warm and toasty about going home. Many were probably worried about what lay ahead. But Joshua knew the promises of God were true. He had told the Israelites that this was their land. All they had to do was trust God and in three days they would cross the Jordan and God would give it to them.
We can accomplish a great deal in three days. We can redecorate our house, change jobs and even travel all the way around the world. Three days is a long span of time to begin something new. But God knew that His people would need three days to prepare for what lay ahead, because He was sending them on the journey of a lifetime. He was giving them their hearts' desire. He was giving them a place of rest . . . a home. They still had many trials ahead of them. But they were living now in His presence. Only once they had fully come under His wing could the Israelites come into the Promised Land.
The same is true for us today. As we come under the protection of the Lord and we dwell in His tent, we will find the peace of being home. It may seem like a far-off place. There may be rivers to cross and enemies to destroy, but the promise of the Lord stays the same. Just like Joshua and the Israelites, we will be coming into the Promised Land in three days' time. So pack up your tent, prepare your heart and ready yourself for home. The journey will be well worth the trip.