Standing at a crossroads

You’re standing at a crossroads or perhaps a threshold, it’s hard to see in the first light of dawn.

In any case, the events of the next few days, weeks, months will be momentous, crucial for your future, the future of your country, too. The struggle will be dangerous, brutal and the result is far from certain, though you won’t admit that to anyone.

You’ve been waiting for this time all your life, it seems – decades in the wilderness – and now it is here, but you are terrified.

Unable to sleep, you had gone outside to clear your head. Maybe make some momentous decisions! Ha!

Suddenly, out of the early-morning mist a figure emerges. He is at least two metres tall – well over six foot six – and impressive! Maybe a king-maker. In days gone by he would have carried a huge sword, and so would you.

If he were on your side, there would be nothing to fear. The outcome assured.

You ask the question: “Are you on our side or theirs?”

He doesn’t reply at first and you wonder if he has heard. You think about asking again – but it was the wrong question.

“Neither,” he replies. “I represent God!”

Well, that’s a bit arrogant, you think, but it could be worse – after all, you are sure that God is on your side.

Then, without meaning to, you fall to the ground before this… this man. (Can he be just a man?)

You, who have – or will soon have – all the power a person could want in this world, humble yourself and ask another question, “What do you want your servant to do?”

That’s the right question, though the answer makes no sense to you.

Even so, you do what he commands, and, in this act of humility, you realise that the question to ask is not whose side God is on – but whether you are on God’s side.

The outcome now seems much less important. You remember that Jesus didn’t win any obvious victories, but His followers claimed He had defeated death itself. You realise that His is an upside-down Kingdom, where the King Himself became a humble servant and died as the ultimate act of love for humankind.

Jesus didn’t win any obvious victories, but His followers claimed He had defeated death itself. His is an upside-down Kingdom, where the King Himself became a humble servant and died as the ultimate act of love.

It’s not the kind of victory you had in mind, but if being on God’s side requires sacrifice – of ambition, policies, power, even life itself – and means that you will be misunderstood by the many, ridiculed, sidelined for the rest of your life, maybe – just maybe – it will be worth it.

You decide: no longer will you ask God to bless your country, or yourself, you will turn it upside-down, like Jesus did, and ask how you and your country can be a blessing to God – and accomplish his purposes.

You turn and go back inside. Glancing over your shoulder you notice that the man is no longer there. Was it just a dream?

When Joshua was near the town of Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with sword in hand. Joshua went up to him and demanded, “Are you friend or foe?”

“Neither one,” he replied. “I am the commander of the LORD’s army.”

At this, Joshua fell with his face to the ground in reverence. “I am at your command,” Joshua said. “What do you want your servant to do?”

The commander of the LORD’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did as he was told.