Caleb hushed the people before Moses and said, “Let us by all means go up, and we shall gain possession of it, for we shall surely overcome it.” But the men who had gone up with him said, “We cannot attack that people, for it is stronger than we.”
My wife Shannon and I had been in Atlanta for a few days when we stopped at a local church. I had made contact with a few pastors through e-mail and the pastor of this church had been the only one that answered my e-mail inquiry. She was alone in the office that day when we stopped by and after introductions she took us on a “tour” of the church.
At every point of interest she would ask us, what do you see?
We saw a lot of things, the building was dingy and dark, the entrances were solid, and there were no signs pointing the way. Outside it was the same, no clear signs, the building needed painting, and there was overgrown landscaping (mostly weeds though). It was obvious to us that much work needed to be done to the building, why was she asking?
A few days later we quickly found out when we showed up at worship why the pastor was asking what we “saw.”
As we arrived we knew where to go only because she had told us when we visited a few days before. When we entered the room everyone just looked at us and responded to us only when the pastor enthusiastically greeted us and introduced us to those who were gathered. Those there did not see what we saw, they did not see what their leader saw.
Is good to know that this is nothing new. God’s people have a way of quickly forgetting how they have come from by faith. Our changing world makes many resistant to see the need for a new approach, and the hope of new possibilities. Soon a “scouting mission” turns into a showdown between differing points of view, should we trust God’s call or is it too dangerous?
Our fears cause us to exaggerate the difficulty of the path:
The country that we traversed and scouted is one that devours its settlers. All the people that we saw in it are men of great size, we saw the Nephilim there — the Anakites are part of the Nephilim — and we look like grasshoppers to ourselves, and so we must have looked to them.
The years that followed were a constant struggle between competing visions about the promise of God for that congregation. I wonder what giants & monsters we are seeing in the future of our life together? Are they real or the products of fear?