His weathered face turned toward the mountain. He remembered as if it were yesterday, the smell of the good earth and the stiff wind that washed the air clean. He remembered the lush vines of grapes and the rivers that gurgled brightly in the sunshine. It was indeed the Promised Land. God had promised that every place they set their feet would belong to them. Caleb stood that day, looking out over the land for hundreds of miles from his vantage point with hope and adventure in his spirit. What could stop them now? After all this time of wandering, what could stop them now?
Ten men came back from scouting out the Promised Land full of fear and despair and soon the entire nation was floundering. Only able to see the obstacles, the giants, the things that brought them struggle, the ten leaders lost sight of the promise--the promise of God. Caleb winced at the memory. The people grumbled and murmured in fear and frustration. How quickly fear and despair could stop them! God had led them, instructed them, provided for them for so long. Caleb knew that mountain belonged to him. But fear stood in the way--not his fear, but the fear of others.
The Book of Numbers in the Bible records a picture of the kind of man Caleb was. Numbers 14:24 says this, "But my servant Caleb--this is a different story. He has a different spirit; he follows me passionately. I'll bring him into the land that he scouted and his children will inherit it." God remembered Caleb. He remembered Caleb's passionate heart. He remembered that Caleb believed God's promise. He remembered that Caleb was willing to trust Him even if the obstacles were ominous and the task seemed impossible. Caleb believed what God said. And Caleb waited for God to do it! Now, at the age of 85, Caleb stood looking at His mountain, the place where his children and his grandchildren would live for generations to come.
Caleb inspires me. How easy it is for what I believe God promises to get lost in what I see in front of me. I would love to think that I would be like Caleb upon returning with a report of the Promised Land. But my history tells me that I am easily overwhelmed with what looks impossible. Caleb kept his eyes on the Promise. He looked for something to remind him of the promise and he refused to let fear distract him. God said, "Caleb has a different spirit." I want that spirit--a Caleb spirit. I want to be a different story in God's book--known by God as someone who follows him passionately. I want God's smile. I want to be willing to wait, even if it takes a lifetime. Fear and despair cannot move my face from the Promise and the Promise--Giver. I want to be a different spirit--a Caleb spirit.
Lord, help me be a different spirit, a heart that follows passionately after you. Let me set my face toward your mountain, and wait patiently, remembering your goodness and your everlasting love.
Shelley Lopez, Executive Director
Shelley has been a member of the Springfield community for 29 years. As she lives and works and worships in the city, she uses the metaphor of an old Victorian house restoration to keep her focused on the work she is called to do. Inspired by the words of the prophet Isaiah, she pours herself into "restoring old ruins, rebuilding and renovating, making the community livable again" (Is. 58:12 MSG)