THE THIRTEENTH DAY OF MARCH IN THE YEAR OF GRACE TWO THOUSAND AND SIXTEEN.
A gracEmail subscriber nearing the midpoint of an anticipated lifespan writes: “When I look around sometimes at the people I love the most–my spouse, my children, my parents–I am nearly overwhelmed with concern for their well-being, and with an awareness of my own inability to control even one minute of the future. How can I get some peace about possible future changes and all the up’s and down’s of life?”
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Life’s uncertainties are enough to stir up fear in any of us, and they often do. However, we can always emerge victorious if we respond with faith and not with panic. The ancient Israelites discovered this the hard way and we can learn from their experience. As Israel neared the promised land of Canaan, they sent twelve spies ahead to gather information from which to plan a successful invasion. The spies returned with tales of a land flowing with milk and honey, grape clusters so large they took two men to carry–and, by the way, a few sightings of giants next to whom the Israelites seemed like grasshoppers by comparison.
Two spies, Joshua and Caleb, reminded the people that God had promised to be with them and to give them the land. The other ten followed the conventional wisdom that refuses to trust whatever it cannot see. When the vote was finally taken, the folks gave more credence to the realistic data than they did to the second-hand promises of Moses’ invisible deity (Numbers 14). They were about to stone Moses and Aaron, and God was about ready to kill them and start over. But Moses intervened, God relented, and the people cooled off. The ten spies who did not trust God’s promise all died of plague, and God announced that the unfaithful generation would all die in the wilderness. All, that is, except Caleb and Joshua–the two spies whose rejected minority report had urged trust in God.
In the end, it’s all about faith, trusting God, believing his promises, living with assurance that he will be true to his word (Heb. 11:1). That was the case then, and it remains the bottom line today. God promises to be with us always (Heb. 13:5), to empower what he commands (Matt. 28:20), to meet our basic needs (Matt. 6:25-33). The story is not over in this life, and God promises to make it more than worthwhile in the end (1 Peter 5:10). Then he will no longer be invisible. Then all the universe will see and know that he is God (Book of Revelation).