The land through which we have gone, in spying it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants; and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great size (Numbers 13:32).
Perhaps you’ve wondered, as I have, why God required the Israelites to work so hard to inherit a land He had already promised to give them. When someone offers to do us a favor, we normally expect no strings to be attached.
God has a long and storied history of requiring human activity to carry out His will – not because He needs our help, but because He wants our hearts. I’m not so sure we would relinquish this most vital of organs any other way.
If God did everything, He’d become a genie. If God did nothing, He’d become an afterthought. If either was the case, the best you could say of us is that we acknowledged God’s existence. But that’s not the same as knowing or loving Him.
The only way for God to have a relationship with us is for God to have a partnership with us. That’s His desire, and that’s one reason why He won’t always give us the easy way out.
As you look out over the landscape of your own life, you may see some very real problems. There are giants in the land. They aren’t living, breathing Canaanites, but they’re a big deal to you – fear and guilt and worry – not to mention the really big sources of pain like losing a child or watching a parent grow old.
If He wanted to, God could remove these giants in His sleep. And we sometimes slide into bed at night hoping He’ll do it in ours. He rarely does, and for this, we should be thankful. Because if He magically removed all the problems in our lives without asking us to do anything hard, anything “impossible,” we would never be able to demonstrate faith. That means we would live our entire lives without ever pleasing God. We would gain the Promised Land in such a way that it would cost us the very thing we need most: a relationship with our Creator.
We serve a God who has the ability to do anything, but chooses not to. He doesn’t let us off so easily. But the real beauty of it all is that, even when He requires us to do the seemingly impossible, it’s never as difficult as it appears. And sometimes, it’s almost easy – at least after that first difficult step.
In the end, all we need is faith . . . midget-sized faith. That’s all it takes to embolden us to walk into the land of giants, trusting God to either make them smaller, or to make us bigger.