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When There Are Giants in the Land

The Lord said to Moses, “Send some men to explore the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites. From each ancestral tribe send one of its leaders.” So at the Lord’s command Moses sent them out…They gave Moses this account: “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large…We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are…The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size…We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”  (from Numbers 13)

The land is rich and full of promise, green, alive with fruit. From atop the mountain I survey its wildness and feel that old longing for adventure begin to stir again. It’s everything He said it would be and more, vast and beautiful.

But there are giants. “Milk and honey, honey and milk,” He told me, but no mention of giants! Surely He never intended me to wrestle my inheritance from these mountains of flesh. They skulk and menace, throwing stones, beating the air – and a terrifying clump of them has me in their sights.

“He promised, but He won’t deliver! Sure, He might be big enough to make it happen, but He doesn’t care about you!”

Ingratitude, Discontent, and Hopelessness lumber toward me, their message clear: you’re trapped; there’s no way out. Complacency camps out nearby, his fire enticing, his eyes empty. Clutter and Chaos, those mischievous twins, dance in my periphery, freckle-faced boy beasts with relentless energy. And a puny ogre looms large before my eyes, blocking my vision of anything else. “Distraction” is how he politely introduces himself, but his real name is an ugly one: Idolatry.

Dull eyes bulge and meaty lips drip drool as they consider me, a mere morsel to be divided and devoured. Stubby fingers point, but not at me – they point at my God, and accusations slither from their tongues.

“He promised, but He won’t deliver! Sure, He might be big enough to make it happen, but He doesn’t care about you!”

“Give up now – you can’t win. He brought you here to die!”

“He isn’t going to show up. He won’t come through.”

“Just fill your life with Things and you’ll be fine.”

“What’s this ‘peace that surpasses understanding’ you’re looking for? Impossible! You’ve got too much to do, and He’ll never let you rest.”

“You’d be better off back where you came from! Remember the good old days?”

He’s never failed me before, and I believe Him – I believe – when He says He never will.

And with that I awake from the trance of their lies. Remember the good old days? Oh, yes – I remember. I remember the monotony of what I used to call life, predictable and safe and headed nowhere. I remember the weight of the burden, the sting of the lash, the bark of the slavedriver. I remember new life being ripped from my arms, my dreams drowned, my hopes buried. I remember my labor that was never enough.

And I remember – oh, I remember the blood of the Sacrifice that spared me from death! I remember how He brought me through the water unharmed, provided exactly what I needed for each day, went before me in the wilderness to guide and protect me, fought every battle to deliver me from my enemies. I remember how He made a sanctuary for my soul and brought me near – me, the unclean, embraced by Him, the Holy!

Go back? Never! How could I waste a drop of that precious Blood? My steps may be feeble, but I’ll advance – I’ll go forward wherever He leads me. He’s never failed me before, and I believe Him – I believe – when He says He never will.

I’m not alone. We’re shoulder to shoulder.
We raise our wobbling swords, and He –
He rushes in,
and does the rest.

What giants are you facing today?