Imagine being on a journey for 40 years. You’re leaving slavery and all the hardships which came with oppression. God’s given you a vision of a bountiful banqueting table, a land promised to all the generations of Israelites. Hope keeps you pressing forward through all the frustrations that come with constant travel. Then one day ta da, you arrive. Thank the Lord! Arriving at the promised land means things will be easy and your burden will be light. You can finally put your traveling shoes and armour away, right?
God commanded Moses to send tribe leaders to scout the land to finally answer 40 years’ worth of questions. Imagine being in the crowd, waiting expectantly to hear all the good news about your new home. At first it sounds amazing. The scouts show off wonderful fruit, describing the land as “flowing with milk and honey!” (Numbers 13:27) And then they say it. That little three letter word which has the power to deflate all hope.
“But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large.” Numbers 13:28
These leaders had dreamed and traveled for years to get to the brink of God’s promise for their lives. I believe they’d set up inaccurate expectations of how God would bless them. We see several examples of how the Israelites expected God to provide for them in a convenient way. They grumbled about only eating manna, expected the Messiah to overthrow the Romans, etc. Our human expectations of how God blesses us can set us up for disappointment and discouragement. Fear sets in. How we respond shows our level of spiritual maturity.
“But” is a powerful tool of the enemy. Most Christians struggle with connecting the head and heart; what they believe and what they feel. We know we “should” be grateful for all the blessings in our life BUT we feel disappointed at needs not being met in specific ways. Caleb went on the scouting mission and saw all the “buts” narrated by the other leaders, yet he had a very different response.
“Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, ‘We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.” Numbers 13:30
Caleb lived with passion, excitement, and hope. His expectations were focused on God’s vision of the future rather than the barriers between him and the blessings. He viewed the obstacles as opportunities for God to show his glory rather than looking at human weaknesses. There was no “but” in Caleb’s vocabulary.
Cultivate a “but-less” view of blessings. There may be enemies to defeat, mountains to cross, and the unknown to navigate. Yet God will always empower us to be strong and courageous, blessing us with his presence and heart.