Week 36: A Faithful Outlook

Today’s Text: Numbers 13-16

Key Text: Numbers 13:30

“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.”

When the freed Hebrew slaves who had been wandering in the desert came to the Promised Land they did a very sensible thing: they sent spies into Canaan to see what it looked like.

Those spies, most of them, came back with a very sensible report:

“…the people who live there are powerful and the cities are fortified and very large….We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, we looked the same to them.”

In other words – they told Moses he best forget any crazy ideas he and God might have about taking that particular Promised Land.

Caleb, however, brought a very different report.

He brought back one that was filled with faith.

So he told the people they should get on with the business of conquering the land God had promised to them.

We too are sometimes faced with a similar choice.

We can believe our eyes – turn tail and run – in the face of obvious, gigantic obstacles.

Or we can believe our God – and get on with the business of overcoming those same obvious, gigantic obstacles.

If that sounds like some “pie in the sky” or “power of positive thinking” message…good. That’s what I intend it to be.

Life often presents us with very formidable obstacles to our faith.

But faith would not be faith if everything we were called upon by God to do were easy.

We must, by definition, trust in those things that are unseen if we are to grasp that which is of eternal significance.

Yes, it will be challenging, it will be difficult.

It is also, according to God, entirely possible.

All it takes….is faith.

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 for “expectant hope.” 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, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. 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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