"Is this Sharon?" more surprise than anything in her voice. I affirm that yes, it's me. "Oh! I'm so used to one of your staff answering the phone!"
And there it is. I smile long. This long-held dream in my heart, played out in this season... the vision of LeRoy and I, multi-millionaires, my entourage of assistants helping to keep me on track, organized, moving forward in our corporate vision.
And how does it feel, you ask... to be living the dream...
So, I'll share soul-deep... and this is cliche, but it's much more difficult than we imagined. Much.
As in, dude! we just returned from our little spy mission and the people living in the land are giants -- not the meek and gentle kind, either. Heh, not exactly looking forward to Crucial Conversations with those folks. In fact, why don't you get your machete and help me cut up these grapes and pomegranates we brought back. The whole area flows with milk and honey and these bountiful crops... like the whole GMO debate hasn't reached this region or...
[Enter two spies who are decidedly not going along with the consensus]
...then again, considering the God we serve, it's easy to see why He's giving us this land. I mean, it fits His character.
I was reading along, caught up in the rhythm of lyrics when this one gave me pause,
"Do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion,
As in the day of trial in the wilderness,
When your fathers tested Me;
They tried Me, though they saw My work.
For forty years I was grieved with that generation,
And said, 'It is a people who go astray in their hearts,
And they do not know My ways.'
So I swore in My wrath,
'They shall not enter My rest.'"
-- Psalms 95:8-11
Wait, go back. That part right there... though they saw My work. And then, [pan camera to reveal council of men sitting around a fire, eating mammoth-sized figs... MONTAGE: showing quick succession of 10 plagues, parting of Red Sea, provision of hydration, ready-to-eat-whatisits, meat, protection, God Provided Satellite directions in a pillar of fire by night and a cloud by day, shoes that never wear out, laws to keep them in peak physical, mental, and spiritual condition...] hold on... they're sulking?!
Though they've seen His work, 83% of the group is willing to settle for well-we-got-pretty-close and we can make do with the land outside the Promised Land. I'm sorry... did I miss something?
And I have to confess, we're battling moments in which we can't imagine how we're going to defeat giants and take the Land Flowing With Milk And Honey. But God in His mercy and faithfulness -- and wrath -- is relentless and his kindness-that-leads-to-repentance keeps pulling us out of that mire and muck.
Over and over and over, He plays the montage and the litany reveals his sovereignty. We're told to go take a land that's already promised to us. That when we're overcome with a multitude of anxieties at the thought of what lies ahead, that His comforts will delight our souls. (Psalm 94:19)
And how to take giants like 350,000 and 36,000 and 28,000 and a measly (in contrast anyway) 5,885. Not to mention 21 to 30 million.
But He's already promised us the land.
And we've seen His work.
And we know His ways.
So all that's left for us to do is go back to the beginning... to repent of pouting, replacing it with proclaiming. To shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
Yeah, it's better to go sit next to the two heroes of the story, their confidence in the Lord, the great King above all gods, ushering us into worship of the One Whose hand holds the deep places of the earth; the One Who owns the heights of the hills and the sea; the same God who formed the dry land.
But that one decision, the one not to settle for well-this-is-close-enough, to join the minority two and believe that our battles won't be in vain... That whole thing about to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.
So, yeah, we're living the dream. Multi-millions in grace gifts. An entire family on mission together. Leaning evermore into His tender mercies while moving toward the vision.
And if we've seen His works,
and we know His ways...
If we've received much,
and much is required...
...yeah, my heart is beating wildly.