Striking the balance…

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Numbers 13:25 At the end of forty days they returned from spying out the land. 26 And they came to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation of the Israelites in the wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh; they brought back word to them and to all the congregation, and showed them the fruit of the land. 27 And they told him, “We came to the land to which you sent us; it flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. 28 Yet the people who live in the land are strong, and the towns are fortified and very large… 30 But Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.” 31 Then the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against this people, for they are stronger than we.” 32 So they brought to the Israelites an unfavorable report of the land that they had spied out, saying, “The land that we have gone through as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants; and all the people that we saw in it are of great size…”

This scene happened fairly early in the journey of the Israelites to the Promised Land. Likely no more than a year or two after they had left Egypt. The Lord had given them the land, but the voices of fear prevailed against Caleb’s voice of faith. And so it would be 40 years before the Israelites occupied the Promised Land, enough years for most of the original adults to die and for a new generation to be born who had not been slaves.

“Fear” drives us to focus on the “mountain” that is in our way. “Faith” focuses on the One who can move the mountain. This is not to say that all fear is bad. It’s not. But when fear prevents us from doing the will of God it can be devastating.

There’s lots of fear going around these days. The coronavirus can be deadly, even lethal, so caution is warranted – especially in large metropolitan areas like Dallas/Ft. Worth where I live. That said, we have to be careful not to let fear take root. Fear is drive by emotion, which can lead to over-reaction. Caution is driven by thoughtful consideration based on facts. The facts are still not in our favor at the moment. There are more people carrying the virus now than ever in my community. But this will not last forever.

Lord give us grace to persevere in a time of crisis. Help us to know when we can gather again in-person to enjoy the shaking of hands, the singing of songs, the warm embraces, the coming to the altar for Holy Communion. In the meantime, thank you for the new doors you are opening for us virtually. Help us to be good stewards of the people we are getting to know, inviting them into life-changing relationship with You. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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