I call it panic prayer. Something bad happens and I’m thrown for a loop. I cry out to the Lord as if it’s the end of the world. It’s not – but it feels like it. I don’t stop to consider the Lord’s character or his promises.
I think Joshua did that in chapter 7. He’s been told by Moses and God several times to be strong and courageous. Things start out very strong – Jericho has fallen. Then, just as quickly, Israel is defeated at Ai. I think Joshua goes into panic mode in verse 7:
And Joshua said, “Alas, O Lord GOD, why have you brought this people over the Jordan at all, to give us into the hands of the Amorites, to destroy us? Would that we had been content to dwell beyond the Jordan! O Lord, what can I say, when Israel has turned their backs before their enemies! For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land will hear of it and will surround us and cut off our name from the earth. And what will you do for your great name?”
All of a sudden it seems like Joshua has plunged into hopelessness. Where is the strength and the courage? But I love how God responds. He doesn’t pat him on the head and say, “There, there.” He says, “Get up! Why have you fallen on your face?” Israel has sinned and Joshua needs to address the problem.
Get up! Sometimes I need to hear that. Stop panicking. God hasn’t gone anywhere. He is still there, still faithful to his promises.