Several years ago I had an opportunity to step into something new, something that had the potential to change my life, my faith and my future. For about two years I prayed for an opportunity like this so when I found it, I eagerly applied and started planning for how I would embark on this new adventure.
Then, life happened.
Just a few weeks before this opportunity took place, my dad unexpectedly passed away. At thirty years old, I didn’t have the capacity, skills, community or faith to walk through grief. My natural response was to turn to old habits and decline this opportunity. I felt lost and broken and I didn’t see how quitting my job, moving to a new state and jumping into an unknown future was a good idea.
But God didn’t accept my no. He sent people to encourage me, provided a financial scholarship and even free housing. All I had to do was say yes and drive to this new land. The only problem: I was scared. Scared I might give everything up and fail. Scared that I would lose all I had worked for. Scared that it wouldn’t work out and I didn’t have a ‘plan B…or C’ to fall back on.
As I prayed and sought wisdom from the pastors around me, the one thing I felt deep in my spirit was that I may never get this opportunity again. I was not promised a scholarship or free housing if I waited, I was offered those things at that moment. I could see clearly a trajectory if I stayed in my current situation and it was bleak. I was scared but I knew if I wanted change, I needed to step into that change. So within a 2 week window, I quit my job, packed my car and drove a few hours to my new home state.
The promise I held onto was “if God is opening this door, it must be good.”
Too often I find that we can miss out on the goodness of God because we only see all of the obstacles or challenges to overcome. We see all of the scary stuff and not enough of the faith stuff.
There were some people in the Bible who did the same thing.
God promised the Israelites He would rescue them from Pharaoh and bring them to a land flowing with milk and honey. He performed miracle after miracle with a show stopping parting of the Red Sea to deliver the Israelites into freedom. All they really had to do was obey and follow. Once Pharaoh was out of the picture it was time for the Israelites to go into their Promise Land, here they would truly get to live the life they dreamed of. The only problem: the land was occupied and the Israelites would have to take the ground that was promised to them. As they scoped out the land they came back with ten bad reports. That’s ten of their people who went, scoped the land, saw all of the giants in the land and said “no way, we can’t take this land.”
That’s right, ten bad reports. And yes, this was right after they saw God part the Red Sea. How easily do we forget what God has done in our life and come back with a bad report? We want a promotion but fail to apply for the job, forgetting how God showed up with a miracle in the current job. We want the house but see a lack of money, forgetting how many times God has provided before. We want healing or inner freedom but we keep doing the same things, forgetting the many Red Seas God has parted to rescue us in the past.
Failing to remember what God has done in our life leads us to bad reports and wandering in the wilderness for much longer than was intended. That’s what happened to the Israelites by the way, they spent an extra 40 years with no home, no land, no milk or honey because they chose to see the obstacles in their way instead of having faith in the God who just delivered them from Pharaoh.
Eventually, two more went out: Caleb and Joshua. Only they saw past any giants, they saw the milk, honey and all of the possibilities the land had to offer. They saw God’s provision, His promises, abundance and a life they’ve been waiting for. With their good report, obedience, some wild faith moves and the help of a prostitute they crossed into their promise land and enjoyed all it had to offer.
In all twelve reports the circumstances were exactly the same, the only difference was their outlook. Where some saw no hope, the last two saw a land of hope.
No matter what your situation is today, there is a land of hope waiting for you to take it. God paid too much to not give you hope. I encourage you today, look back at all God has done for you starting at the Cross and remember how He has saved, helped, provided, and given you what you need. Then look at your situation with a lens of what God can do rather than what you can’t. He has a land of hope waiting for you, all you have to do is cross over to it…or in my case, drive to it.