Throughout the history of God's people as given to us in the Bible, we see that life is a test. We have before us the option to trust God 'no matter what,' or to walk away from Him. To walk away from God is to leave the fragments of our dreams in pieces on the floor, but to trust Him is to let God pick up the pieces and make s whole again. When we choose to let Him make us whole again, He will make our lives more beautiful than before."
~ "What I Learned from God While Quilting" by Ruth McHaney Danner & Cristine Bolley~
This is a quote that I really wish I knew more of the context. I probably agree with the spirit of the quote, but it is not sitting totally easy with me. It almost appears to be an equation that can be overly simplified to "trust God=beautiful life, walk away=broken life" and I don't agree with that. Yes, it allows for the coming back after a period of not trusting, but what about when you are totally trusting and your dreams still seem to be shattered fragments on the floor?
One of my favorite Bible characters is Caleb. When we are first introduced to Caleb as one of the twelve spies that scouted out the Promised Land.
So at the LORD's command Moses sent them out from the Desert of Paran. All of them were leaders of the Israelites. These are their names: ... from the tribe of Judah, Caleb son of Jephunneh;
(Numbers 13:3-4a and 6a)
The spies came back with a choice--to trust God 'no matter what' or to walk away from the promise. Ten walked away and as a result the dream of entering the Promised Land, not only for themselves but also for the people they led in disbelief, shattered into fragments in the sand. But two chose to trust 'no matter what.' They attempted to get the people to trust 'no matter what,' but the people were too frightened by the ten.
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."
But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it.
In this desert your bodies will fall—every one of you twenty years old or more who was counted in the census and who has grumbled against me. Not one of you will enter the land I swore with uplifted hand to make your home, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun. As for your children that you said would be taken as plunder, I will bring them in to enjoy the land you have rejected.
But it took over 40 years to see the reward. I often wonder if during those years of wandering in the desert if Caleb and Joshua ever wondered if they would see their dreams come to fruition. Did they have moments of frustration that they were made to wait and suffer because of the sins of others? Yes, they were trusting for the bigger dream--but this route to get there could not have seemed easy at all!
So often when we choose to 'trust God no matter what' the immediate result seems so much worse. Walking away is often the easy choice. Staying, and facing the circumstances in God's strength, can seem so difficult. Giving up begins to look like a good option. But, often, it is in the trial of trusting that the true beauty emerges.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Did you get that? Perseverence must finish its work so that you may be mature. We often think that trusting God means that we get to an easy answer. But often it is just the beginning of the trial that will lead us to maturity. And there is joy in that, although difficult to accept at the time. The joy of knowing that maturity is coming is what can spur us along as we 'trust no matter what.'
What about Caleb? Well even if he ever doubted it in the desert (don't you wish we knew more about his desert journey) he was still trusting God 'no matter what' at the end!
Now the men of Judah approached Joshua at Gilgal, and Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, "You know what the LORD said to Moses the man of God at Kadesh Barnea about you and me. I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadesh Barnea to explore the land. And I brought him
back a report according to my convictions, but my brothers who went up with me made the hearts of the people melt with fear. I, however, followed the LORD my God wholeheartedly. So on that day Moses swore to me, 'The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance and that of your children forever, because you have followed the LORD my God wholeheartedly.' "Now then, just as the LORD promised, he has kept me alive for forty-five years since the time he said this to Moses, while Israel moved about in the desert. So here I am today, eighty-five years old! I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I'm just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. Now give me this hill country that the LORD promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the LORD helping me, I will drive them out just as he said." Then Joshua blessed Caleb son of Jephunneh and gave him Hebron as his inheritance. So Hebron has belonged to Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite ever since, because he followed the LORD, the God of Israel, wholeheartedly.
God, help me today to be a Caleb. Help me to trust you "no matter what," even if the fruition of that trust is not for a far off future--or even eternity like the saints of Hebrews 11. Whether they are shattered by my own rebellion or by my expectations that are not aligned with your plan, help me to place the fragments of my dreams into your hands. I want to trust. In the Good Shepherd's care and name I pray, Amen.
Our hostess this week is Nina at Mama's Little Treasures. Please join us there and be blessed by the reflections on this quote.