“If you always choose the easy way, asking for the peaceful valleys, you will never see God’s power displayed to enable you to take a mountain. Seek out the mountains, and you will witness God doing things through your life that can be explained only by His mighty presence.” –Henry Blackaby and Richard Blackaby, Experiencing God Day-by-Day, p. 216
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” –James 1:2-3
Reading these verses and the Blackaby’s devotional on the same day triggered some thoughts that demanded some serious processing. I found the combination interesting.
You see, James tells us to consider it pure joy whenever we face trials. In other words, we are going to face trials, so we should be thankful for the good that God will do in us through them. When we trust in God when life is challenging, He allows those challenges to test our faith and build perseverance into us. Our faith grows as we trust God to lead us safely through the trails we face. This is a very good thing.
But Caleb, in Joshua 14:12, took this concept a step further. He not only endured trials; he actually sought them! Let’s take a look at the verse:
“Now therefore, give me this mountain of which the Lord spoke in that day; for you heard in that day how the Anakim were there, and that the cities were great and fortified. It may be that the Lord will be with me, and I shall be able to drive them out as the Lord said.”
If you remember, Joshua and Caleb were the two spies who assured the Israelites that, with God’s help they could take Canaan. All of the other spies said it would be too difficult, and Israel chose to listen to them. As a result, all Israel had to wander in the desert for 40 years. Only Joshua and Caleb were allowed to enter the Promised Land. God called Joshua to take Moses’ place leading His people. Caleb earned himself a prime piece of land, and in Joshua 14, he claims it.
In Experiencing God Day-by-Day, quoted from above, the Blackaby’s point out that Caleb could have asked for a peaceful valley. He could have retired quietly and rested for the last of his days. But Caleb didn’t do this. Instead, he asked for a mountain—a mountain that Israel’s enemies had fled to when Israel had conquered their land. Caleb chose a fierce trial.
What’s more, he didn’t choose the trial in order to build his own character—no, Caleb had already endured 40 years in the wilderness. I’m sure perseverance was well-ingrained. Instead Caleb chose the trial to give God a new opportunity to display His power on His people’s behalf.
How incredible is that?!
And . . . Caleb didn’t even know if God would take him up on the offer. Joshua 14:12 ends with him saying, “It may be that the Lord will be with me, and I shall be able to drive them out as the Lord said” (emphasis mine). With that statement, Caleb joins Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, Hosea, Job, and others who knew that trusting God means trusting Him whether things go well or not. We live to know and honor Him—wherever we are, in all we do, whatever our circumstances.
Lord, help us to choose the path that brings the most honor to You, putting Your glory and majesty above our personal comfort whenever that’s what You lead us to do. When trials test our faith, teach us to persevere. When we have choices to make, help us to choose on Your behalf. Let Your Presence and power be seen through our lives that others will join us in living for You. Thank You, Lord! Amen.