There are thousands of fish in the 25-foot deep pond near our home but there’s an infamously large bass that lurks untouched in the depths. People have seen him near the surface on occasion, so they know he’s there. Fishermen, eager to try their luck at catching the prey, have sat for long periods of time with just the right hook and lure in hopes that they’ll be the one to reel him in. I took my boys fishing just this weekend, and within one hour, my three-year old caught seven and my other son snagged four. No large bass for us; small perch and sunlight fish were sufficient to keep them happy. Yet, I found myself looking out over the still dark waters and peering down into the depths with intensity. I wondered if the legendary and allusive bass would ever be seen on someone’s hook.
The Israelites left Egypt with the promise of Canaan. All they had to do was obey Yahweh and believe that He would accomplish what He said that He would and they’d then be allowed to walk on Promised Land soil. Yet, looking out over the millions of Jews swimming in the grace and protection of Yahweh, you’d be hard pressed to find one whose faith was worth catching. A quick glance within the depths of the tent-lined camps would leave you disappointed. Finding the allusive members of the nation under Moses’ leadership who really believed God and fully expected the inheritance they’d been promised was a long shot. But there was one. In fact, there were two, and only two.
Listen to that startling ratio again: Of the approximately two million adult pilgrims who left Egypt with the promise of Canaan, only Joshua and Caleb believed God would give them what he’d promised and would actually step foot into the Promised Land.
Two in two million.
That’s one in a million.
Why is it so hard to find believers who actually believe? Why is it so difficult to come across Christians who are living the life of abundance offered to every believer (John 10:10) – people who hear His voice, experience His power and are acquainted with His manifest presence? It’s easy to simply attend church and listen to Christian radio, but really taking God at His word, anticipating His miracles, walking in faith and expecting an infiltration of His power- now that’s a different story.
I’ve decided that if there are only going to be a handful of Christians who really encounter God, who actually experience the abundant “promised land life” He has come to give, then I want to be one of those few. How about you?
Our spiritual inheritance is so rich and full. It abounds in more lavishness that we can wrap our minds around. I found that when I try to compile thoughts on what my inheritance from God looks like, I leave things out that I either don’t know I have been promised or that I really don’t expect to experience in my life. But, on those occasions when I’ve caught a glimpse of it in the lives of others, my spiritual taste buds were tantalized; my appetite whetted.
Like the woman, I watched for days, weeks, and months that turned into years. This woman was filled with God’s power, overwhelmed with His joy, and consumed with His peace. She heard God’s voice on a regular basis and was seeing evidence of His presence in the regular rhythms of her life. She would pray and then believe; Expect and then see; Ask and then receive. So, I watched her. She was a wife, a mom, a daughter, a sister; a regular woman with problems and concerns just like mine, and yet her life was different in so many ways. More than anything, I wanted what she had and I was determined to figure out how to get it. Our first conversation over two piping hot cups of tea began with a shower of questions. I just couldn’t help myself. I was so curious about her relationship with God and how what she’d learned on the pew had become such a startling reality on the pavement of her life.
That first conversation led to deeper more intriguing ones that kept me on the edge of my seat. Like a little schoolgirl with my chin in my hands, I soaked in her wisdom and reveled in the times she laid her hands on me and prayed. A refreshing friendship developed and I was challenged; challenged to be one of the few who would refuse to trust God with an ordinary faith or settle for an ordinary and complacent walk with Him. I was compelled to not just hear about God on Sunday, but expected to experience what I’d learned every other day of the week. I wanted more- more of Him, more of His Spirit, more of His gifts, more of His fruit, and more of His power and His manifest presence in my life. I was ruined; ruined for church as usual. Mundane Christianity would never do again.
And so, I pray for you, for us, the words of the Apostle Paul:
I’m asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the wonderful future He has promised to those He’s called. I want you to realize what a rich and glorious inheritance he has given to His people.
I’m hoping we’ll be “one in a million” and that when the Father peers out over the waters of those swimming in His grace and love, he’ll find you and me - people who are ready and willing to take Him at his Word and fully engage in every little thing He has planned for us.
So, lace up your hiking boots, Promised Land pilgrim.
Strap on your travel gear for the journey ahead.
We’ve got nothing to lose except a lifetime of wilderness wandering and everything to gain in the land of milk and honey.
Be encouraged. Canaan’s worth every step.
Resource: One in a Million