Updated: Jan 30
Only two of the twelve Israelite spies—Joshua and Caleb—had a faith-filled perspective as they considered their present-day realities. The remaining ten, while acknowledging the land did indeed "flow with milk and honey," chose to focus on the overwhelming challenges of their surroundings, on the uncertainties of their God-ordained mission.
The powerful people! The fortified neighboring cites! The devouring land!
Theirs was a realistic outlook, a most earthly perspective. A fleshly mindset that was in complete opposition to Heaven's survey of the situation.
God, in the fullness of His goodness, had already declared His covenant oath to His chosen people, His treasured possession: that He had already given them the land and that He would be with them and fight for them. Yet, though the Creator of this vast universe had declared it so, and though they had witnessed Him miraculously defend and provide for them, time and again—the 10 plagues, the mass exodus, the Red Sea, the manna from Heaven, the water from the rock—they still viewed their realities through the lenses of flesh and fear, of discouragement and defeat.
As a result, these ten men, along with an entire generation that possessed their weak, faithless perspective, forfeited the blessed personal experience of the promises fulfilled.
How unnecessary. How unfortunate.
And, how needed is their example.
God is the God of declaration. A God of follow-through. A covenant-making, covenant-keeping God. The Bible (both Old and New Testaments) is a collective testimony of this. A most marvelous manifestation of God's spoken words brought to reality. When He speaks, when He personally promises, He delivers. When He declares, it is so. Therefore, whatever He specifically and intimately communicates to me throughout the pages of His revealed Word, as I genuinely seek to hear his voice and know His heart, I can believe him.
I can unreservedly trust in His true words, knowing that His promises are good.
Completely and unquestionably sure.
And if I must wait—yes, even wait for what seems to be forever—for the fulfillment of the promise, I can honestly rest in the knowledge that he will really do what he’s assured my attentive ears and expectant heart that He will do.
In this, I can’t help but reflect on my relationship with a precious child who I have the privilege and joy of interacting with each school day.
For two years now, it’s been my daily blessing to be the one-on-one paraprofessional of a most delightful, spirited little girl. Even though it requires work and perseverance for both of us, she and I have so much fun together as we navigate the details of her school day.
Over the time that our relationship has developed, she’s come to love me. And all who know me well know that it goes without saying that I genuinely love her—truly, adore her—so incredibly much.
She’s my Addie.
I'm her Mrs. Sherry
I feel so honored and deeply humbled that God would intertwine my life with hers.
Out of my love for her, and from my intimate knowledge of who she is—understanding what she loves, what makes her light up with excitement and joy, what gives her tremendous pleasure—I so enjoy giving her gifts that reflect how she's wired, what she’s passionate about, or who she’s been created to be. And on occasion, already knowing what I have in my heart to give her, or have, perhaps, even already purchased, I will actually tell her about it and even show her a picture of it on the internet. The delight in her face as I communicate what I’m planning on giving her is priceless. And it genuinely fills my heart with joy as I contemplate the moment when she finally receives the gift from me. . .when she finally experiences Mrs. Sherry’s love in a promise fulfilled. . .when Mrs. Sherry’s word—declared by someone who authentically loves her and would never in a million years speak a promise, and even continually remind her of the promise, only to not give it to her—finally comes true.
Truly, her promise realized is my good pleasure. Her sheer delight is my joy.
If this is how I am with a child that is not my flesh and blood, a child I’ve only known for two years, how much more can you and I trust our perfect, faithful Father. How much more can we—how much more should we—trust the declarations of His Holy Word. How much more should we keep such close daily intimacy with Him—remaining "attached at the hip,” as I sometimes refer to my connection with my Addie—that we genuinely know his perfect character. . .know His perfect heart. . .know His perfect love.
That we truly know in our core that the specific promises that He speaks into and over our lives, and over the needs we‘re personally interceding for, will absolutely, without a doubt be fulfilled. . .in His impeccable way, in His impeccable timing.
When you and I, like the ten spies, focus on the reality of our present-day challenging circumstances and overwhelming odds, instead of fixating on God's already declared truths, it will leave us defeated and discouraged, without hope. Every time. So, we must keep going back to that specific word of the Word—sometimes again and again and again; yes, even over long seasons of time—when faced with what might seem, and even actually be, insurmountable odds. We must simply trust God’s personal word to us—His revelation and His promise—allowing it to shush our clamorous minds and assuage our heavy hearts.
We must choose to be like Joshua. We must choose to be like Caleb.
Like a child, you and I must choose to be dependent on our loving, faithful Father who will never speak a promise that He will not surely bring to pass. Like my precious Addie, we must choose to have a confident, expectant heart. . .a heart that's so knowledgeable of the love and goodness and reliability of the Giver that we choose no other outlook but certain, hopeful assurance.
Then, with the peace that comes from knowing—really knowing that if He’s said it, it’s as good as done—we must allow our confidence in the God of the declared Word to keep pushing us forward in faith, no matter how bleak or uncertain or overwhelming the reality may seem, or even actually be. Truly, this is authentic, active faith. Mature faith.
This, my fellow sojourner, so pleases the heart of our good, good Father.
And. . .
It's how giants are conquered and how fortifications crumble.
It's how heavenly missions are advanced and how new spiritual territory is personally secured.
And, what I sincerely believe is most significant of all. . .
It's what continues to mature our faith so that we trust our great God even more so, resulting in a greater depth of intimacy with Him, greater spiritual stamina, and greater spiritual influence for the remaining days of our time on earth.