Sometimes it feels like life has just way too many options and not enough information to make informed decisions. It’s easy when trying to decide which shirt you like best. But when it comes to major life decisions it can be hard. My older cousin had this problem when he was in college. What should he major in? What did he want to do with his life? Where did he want to go? In his indecisiveness, he ended up changing his major 6 times and being only a few credits away from a degree in many of them. He was so stumped about which direction to take his life in that he never finished college and now works with computers for the public school system in Hartford. Sometimes, we just don’t know what to do. Sometimes there isn’t a clear right and wrong answer to the questions we have about the future.
This is the problem the Israelites were having so instead of making a decision they set up camp and settled in the Jordan area. Moses had just recently died and they no longer had that leader who was connected to God. So what else should they do? They faced a country, Palestine, which was teeming with various more advanced and well settled cultures with militaries. Yet under Moses God had promised them this land, should they attempt to enter it? So what should they do? Lucky for them God made the decision for them by establishing another individual to pick up Moses’ work where he left off and that was Joshua.
But just as Moses needed to prove his connection to God to the people while he was still in Egypt and throughout the long and arduous journey, so did Joshua. And God used the drying of the Jordan as a sign to the people that he was with Joshua and that he was still with the people and God wanted them to cross that river and to enter into the land of milk and honey. Wouldn’t it be nice if we had as clear of a connection to what God wants for us in our lives today? Wouldn’t it be nice to once and while put the decision into God’s hands, instead of having to feel the full weight of decision making on our own shoulders? I had a close friend once ask me “Where’s my burning bush? I want my burning bush.” What I think she was saying was that she would like some clearer help from God.
However, I would say that sometimes we are the ones not in tune enough with God to even see or recognize when he is leading us. Parker Palmer wrote in his book Let Your Life Speak, “Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I must listen to my life telling me who I am”. How often when we are trying to decide something major do we take some time out to listen. How often do we actually turn to God and search for the answers that he is giving us. Yes for many of us God will not so clearly speak to us as he did to Joshua but God does answer prayers through our interactions in life.
God will give guidance through the people we meet and through the experiences we have if we are aware enough and open enough then we will see him there. It is like a fellow who was stuck on his rooftop in a flood. He was praying to God for help. Soon a man in a rowboat came by and the fellow shouted to the man on the roof, “Jump in, I can save you.” The stranded fellow shouted back, “No, it’s OK, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me.” So the rowboat went on. Then a motorboat came by. “The fellow in the motorboat shouted, “Jump in, I can save you.” To this the stranded man said, “No thanks, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me. I have faith.” So the motorboat went on. Then a helicopter came by and the pilot shouted down, “Grab this rope and I will lift you to safety.” To this the stranded man again replied, “No thanks, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me. I have faith.” So the helicopter reluctantly flew away.
Soon the water rose above the rooftop and the man drowned. He went to Heaven. He finally got his chance to discuss this whole situation with God, at which point he exclaimed, “I had faith in you but you didn’t save me, you let me drown. I don’t understand why!” To this God replied, “I sent you a rowboat and a motorboat and a helicopter, what more did you expect?” The fellow in this story did not stop praying long enough to listen, to watch, and to recognize God at work. So often this is our problem in life as well. Sometimes there are not clear answers but there are people that God sends into our lives who are the answers to our prayers. Have you been sending those answers away without even knowing it?
This week let us remember to search for God. Let us remember to look for God’s answers in our interactions, in our innermost voices nagging us, and in the inspiration of nature. God is there. God is speaking. God longs for us to grab his hand and to walk forward into the future side by side with him. So when you are faced with difficult decisions; when you are praying; when you are seeking guidance or help: ask, wait, listen and observe opening your minds and your hearts to the possibilities all around you. Seek God in the silent moments. Seek God in the hectic moments. And allow for others to help reveal to you the presence of God. Don’t let indecision bring you to a halt. Remember what God said to Joshua and know that the same applies to all of us “I will be with you, as I was with Moses”.
 Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak. 21st century.
 Joshua 3: 7, NRSV.
(based on Joshua 3: 7-17)