In Our Own Eyes

In Our Own Eyes

“Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, ‘We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.’ But the men who had gone up with him said, ‘We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.’ And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, ‘The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size.  We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.’”

When the Israelites finally made it to the Promised Land, they had a problem.  It wasn’t the fierce opposition they met there.  Their problem was their own attitude.

I don’t mean to minimize the challenges of taking the land as their own and I don’t want to suggest it was a simple matter of the “power of positive thinking,” as if they just needed to have someone like Dale Carnegie along for the trip.

Still, it is important to note how easily we can become our own worst enemy.

Empowered by God – especially after all God had done so powerfully in their midst – how ironic it is that the people feared finally entering the Promised Land.

It seems we can be so easily discouraged by the obstacles – real and imagined – we see before us.

Claiming the “Promised Land” requires faith and trust – not in our own abilities but in God’s.

It is one reason the apostle Paul writes about how “we have this treasure in clay vessels” – so that it is clear where we get the spiritual strength and wisdom we need.

A bad report – filled with fear – can do much to shake us “in our own eyes.”

So, as the old gospel hymn says, I suggest we keep our “eyes upon Jesus” and follow His lead.  For as scripture puts it so well, “If God be for us, who can be against us?”

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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