July 5th 2013 No comments yet
Here’s something you probably won’t hear from many 20-somethings these days: I’m pretty sick of single life. It’s not the fun, wild, and free time it’s all cracked up to be, at least it hasn’t been for me.
Don’t misunderstand me, there are certainly perks to not being tied down. I go to Mavericks and Rangers games whenever I please. I can take off for the deer lease at the drop of a hat. Life is relatively argument-free, and clothes shopping usually takes about 20 minutes max.
But I’m bored to tears.
For months now, I’ve felt like God has me in some bizarre holding pattern. I can just hear Him saying, “You’re a perfectly capable and accomplished young man. You didn’t sleep in on the day they passed out decent looks, and you’re doing your best to be a godly dude. Just chill for five or six years until I’m good and ready to make that happen.”
That drives me absolutely bonkers. I hate waiting, and I’m betting you do also, especially when it feels like you’re trying your best to do everything right.
I can only imagine how Joshua and Caleb felt in Numbers 13 and 14.
As two of the 12 spies Moses sent to scout the Promised Land, Joshua and Caleb were the only two to have faith in the Lord to deliver their enemies to them. The other 10, afraid of the race of giants and fortified cities that inhabited the land, were not convinced that even God could defeat them. Hearing this, the Israelites panicked and almost killed Moses, Aaron, Joshua, and Caleb so they could turn around and go back to Egypt.
God wasn’t overly pleased with them. Angered at their unfaithfulness, He temporarily suspends His promise to the Israelites.
“But as for you, your dead bodies will fall in this wilderness, and your children will wander in the wilderness forty years and suffer for your unfaithfulness, until your dead bodies lie finished in the wilderness” (Numbers 14:32-33).
God didn’t have an aside with Caleb and Joshua after, saying “Oh, except you two, you guys can kick up your feet and relax here in the Promised Land, because you guys shouldn’t be forced to wait among the people that didn’t believe in Me like you did.”
That isn’t how it went down. After God struck down the other 10 spies that gave the bad report, Joshua and Caleb (along with Moses and Aaron) had to march into the wilderness with the people who were ready to kill them to go back to slavery in Egypt.
Despite doing everything right, they were forced to suffer the punishment doled out to those who went against God. And they didn’t have to wait through a few months of unemployment, or a couple of years of loneliness. They had to sit out in the boonies for 40 years, half a lifetime and the primes of their lives. To borrow from the vernacular of my small-town Texas upbringing, “That just ain’t right.”
A common reaction for when things in our lives don’t happen when we think they should, or take more time than we can stand is to think, “What am I doing so wrong that God is withholding this from me?” We see from the case of Caleb and Joshua, many times it’s nothing. It’s just not your time yet, God has plans that don’t run on your schedule.
For some of us, this may be even worse than if we had been doing something wrong. “What else are we supposed to do?” We think to ourselves. “This isn’t fair!” The literal approach isn’t something we should look to either, because more than likely the Johnsons next door and their sins aren’t causing God to suspend his timing with you.
Oddly enough, we can take some encouragement from Joshua and Caleb’s situation for the times God makes us wait.
God specifies that no one over 20 will ever see the Promised Land except Joshua and Caleb and promises Caleb’s family will possess the land (Numbers 14:24). Joshua would eventually take over for Moses after his death and lead the Israelites to conquer Jericho and the Promised Land that God had promised Abraham.
God rewarded them for their faithfulness; it was just on His schedule.
No matter what you’re waiting for, God hasn’t forgotten you. Stay faithful and continue to lean on Him, and He will recognize you in His time.
It may not seem fair at the time. I doubt anyone could argue Joshua and Caleb got anything more than the short end of the stick in their situation. However, like everything else, God has a reason for your wait in the wilderness, and probably a pretty darn good one designed to prosper you.
Like my future wife, she’s going to need all the time she can get to get ready to deal with me.
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