“Forty days later, they came back from exploring the land. They came back to Moses, Aaron, and the whole community of Israel. They gave their report and showed them the fruit from the land.”
What do you feel like giving up on today? A dream, a calling, your marriage? Maybe it is a relationship, exercise, healthy eating, your budget, or even life in general!
This past week my family and I spent a few days exploring the beautiful Minnesota North Shore. One day was spent hiking the scenic trails around the stunning Gooseberry Falls. After hiking the trails that surround the lower, middle, and upper falls, we decided to make the longer trek to what is known as the fifth falls. As we hit the half-way point to our destination, our six-year-old son Luke, who is normally a ball of unending energy, began to lose steam. With the late-night pool swims catching up with him, he was ready to call it quits and head back to the van.
Doing our best to overcome each of his objections which were muttered through tears, my husband made the call that we would press on to the falls as we were certain the best was yet to come. We knew if Luke just pushed a bit further he would be thankful he did. If we turned back, we would always wonder what was ahead and what adventure we may have missed out on by turning back early.
Encouraging him along the way, and giving him a boost with a piggy-back ride for part of the journey, we eventually heard the roar of the waterfall in the distance. Knowing we were close, Luke seemed to regain all of his lost energy and with a burst of enthusiasm he ran the remainder of the trail.
Arriving at the falls, our boys were thrilled to see the roaring rapids and more so all of the incredible rock ledges with swirling streams and wading pools upstream that were perfect for playing in.
We spent the next 45 minutes exploring the rocks, playing in shallow pools of water and throwing countless sticks and rocks into the rushing current.
As we enjoyed the amazing scenery around us, I thought about all we would have missed out on had we given up and turned back. As I considered this, I couldn’t help but think about the Israelites as they were about to enter the Promised Land.
Do you remember what happened when the Israelites first reached the Promised Land?
After being rescued from 400 years of slavery in Egypt, seeing God part the Red Sea as part of their escape plan, being guided by God Himself through the wilderness, they reach the edge of long awaited land.
Choosing 12 men to explore the land to see if it truly was as God had promised, Moses, Aaron, and the rest of the Israelites waited with great anticipation. After a 40 day journey, the spies returned. Bringing fruit with them as evidence of the quality of the land, the Israelites knew the land was everything God had said. However, there was one minor detail – the current inhabitants of the land were extremely intimidating! Seeing their size, the spies reached two very different conclusions.
Joshua and Caleb chose to walk by faith. They continued to trust God and urged the Israelites to press on and enter the land. The other 10 spies gave into their fears. They took their eyes off of God; they became weary and allowed themselves to become overwhelmed. They looked only to their own strength and reported that the journey ahead would be just too difficult.
The Israelites sided with the faithless spies and chose not to continue their advance to the Promised Land. As a result, God made them wander in the desert for 40 years. When the time finally came to enter, Joshua and Caleb, because of their faith, were the only men in their generation who crossed into the land; the others all died, they lost out because they failed to press on. I would venture to say Joshua and Caleb would tell us today that entering the Promised Land was the greatest adventure and blessing of their life – but none of their peers experienced this because they stopped short of the goal.
Always remember, when we give up in the short term, we lose out in the long run.
Whatever it is you want to quit on today, don’t. Consider this your personal boost, a word of encouragement just to you. Don’t quit. Keep going. Press on, because the best is yet to come!