I Can’t Help But Wonder

by DanWolgemuth on March 8, 2013

The report was bleak, the morale was worse…

“We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we are… The land, through which we have gone to spy it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants…”  (Numbers 13:31, 32)

Why is it that Christians are often pessimists about the culture?  Have you noticed? We’re the ones who mope and huff and shake our heads in disgust. We walk around with our shoulders hunched and our spirits low. From all appearances, we’ve given up and given in.

As I read Numbers 13 again today I was jolted by the freshness of the account given by the spies that were tasked to investigate the Promised Land. I’m not mistaking for a moment that the United States is the Promised Land, it’s not… but I am struck by the stark pessimism of God’s people – honestly, it feels familiar. The land had giants and a value system that seemed to celebrate destruction.

This was not a news flash to God. He had scoped out the land long before the twelve spies. He wasn’t sending His people on a suicide mission; He was inviting them to be a firsthand witness to His surpassing and transformational power. A land that devours its inhabitants was no match for Him.

God wasn’t expecting His people to be naïve; He was expecting them to be informed and confident. God was on their side. This confidence should have and could have birthed optimism (dialog with Caleb and Joshua about this some day).

What if we Christians bucked the trend? What if we became cultural optimists? Not naïve about our culture or evil or the giants that inhabit the land… but optimists about the transformation power of God… our God. (Note the optimism of Jesus when He confidently and boldly proclaimed something about the gates of hell being no match for His community of believers!)

Quite honestly, the Bible emphasized this promise in double portion when, through the Apostle Paul, we’re told…

“… in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  (Romans 8:37-39)

Conquerors become optimists, and optimists conquerors.

Nothing can separate us.

In all these things we are MORE than conquerors.

I can’t help but believe that it’s time for those of us who follow Jesus to occupy the promises of God – in spite of the bleak reports.

I’m optimistic. Are you?

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