“But my servant Caleb—this is a different story. He has a different spirit; he follows me passionately. I’ll bring him into the land that he scouted and his children will inherit it.” Numbers 14:24 (The Message).
While God promised a life of abundance to those who follow Him with their whole heart, He never guaranteed a life free of problems. He promised He would be with us the entire time, taking care of us, but He never promised a life free from problems.
In the past, when I read about the Israelites, I guess I stopped reading once they made it to the Promised Land. I’d read too many fairy tales as a child because I assumed it was “happily ever after.” However, as with Dreamworks fairy tales, for instance Shrek, if there’s a sequel involved, it’s a guarantee another conflict will develop.
Knowing that, why would I think once I’ve come out of a trial in my personal life that things would all be flowers and cupcakes? When the Israelites reached Jericho, they had to contend with a giant wall filled with angry people that needed to be taken down in order to claim the land God promised them. And, why would my assumption be that the Promised Land looked like the wild West in American history – vast open spaces that were uninhabited?
Just as the Israelites needed to put into practice the lessons God patiently taught them in the desert, I need to take the skills God is teaching me now in my trial and continue to use them where God places me. In addition, when the spies were about to be discovered scouting out Jericho, God provided Rahab (a prostitute) to hide them on her roof, providing safety.
So, instead of thinking in terms of my Promised Land being a place free from worries and a chance to just rest, I need to realign my view with a more accurate one. I can complain that I’m still dealing with issues I thought I had conquered in the desert or I can praise God for all the practice He provided so I can defeat these issues, with His help, faster and more effectively as they crop up (less frequently). And, I never want to forget to praise God for all His blessings along the way as well as after I’ve reached my destination. He provides encouragement, safety, and provisions, usually through the least likely source, at exactly the time they’re needed.
When I look at the Promised Land from that perspective, instead of discouraging me, it actually gives me hope. Not only does God have something special planned for my life when I learn the lessons He is trying to teach me, but He believes in me so much, He thinks I’m worth investing time in to learn the lessons to begin with. Keeping my eyes on God and His plan, instead of focusing on the heat and uncomfortable conditions I’m in presently make the journey more bearable and almost kind of fun…almost. If I were to be completely, honest, though, I’m not one who enjoys heat and humidity. That’s why I’m keeping focused on the milk and honey God promises is ahead. I wonder if I can have some coffee with mine. After all, a little bit of heat in the right quantity is quite enjoyable.
© 2013 Cheri Swalwell