Thursday, March 24, 2011

-And There We Saw the Giants -Numbers 13

When I went into preterm labor with Josh at 4 a.m. on a Wednesday morning--at 33 weeks, let's just say that I was scared.   I was twenty-three, and this was my first pregnancy.  Aside from 50 pounds of weight gain (yikes, I know), the experience had been relatively worry free.  After rushing to my local hospital and seeing my OBGYN, I was soon transported by ambulance to another hospital --one with a NICU (neo-natal intensive care unit) for precautions.  Oddly enough, my new OBGYN was Dr. Jekyll (I kid you not).  After assuring me that Mr. Hyde was the "bad guy," Dr. Jekyll tried to calm my nerves by laying out our "birthing" plan.  Josh was breech, not uncommon for 33 week old babies, and since my water had broken, making turning him impossible, he would be delivered by C-section.  I would take medication to stop my labor for two days until I made it to the 34th week. I would get steroid shots to help develop Josh's lungs, and on Friday morning, the medication would stop and we'd wait for contractions to begin. 

I had a few days to cry and to worry, --and to pray to stop crying and worrying!  What I also had time to do was settle on a middle name.  I knew that he was Joshua --it had such a beautiful, soft sound and conjured up images of exactly what I got:  a little blond-headed ball of sweetness.  But the middle name wasn't so easy. 

Someone brought a baby book to the hospital and flipping through pages, I saw it --his name.

CALEB:  "like the heart"; Hebrew:  bold

What came to mind with the combination (Joshua Caleb) was the story of the 12 Israelite spies and the two brothers in particular who, unlike the others, knew they could face the giants in the Promised Land.

Do you remember the story?  Here's a recap.  (Bear with me, it gets good!)

The children of Israel have made it to the promised land, you know the one flowing with milk and honey, and after all the drama -- the Egyptians, the Red Sea, the manna, the murmuring, the complaining, they're ready to relax for awhile.

First, they send out spies to search out the land to see if all the good things they have heard were really true (milk and honey ... let's find out if it's too good to be true).

Sure enough, the 12 spies return with reports of grapes the size of grapefruit, and what about the milk and honey? --Yeah that was there, too!

Then, what's the problem? --Why all the downtrodden looks? 
Oh, didn't we mention the GIANTS?

Now, I don't know about you, but if I had finally made it to a land promised to me by God --overflowing with not only his nourishment (milk) but his pleasure and abundance (honey) --to find men so great that they made me look like a grasshopper, I'd have the same response:

Numbers 14:1 -And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night.

Well, why the people are crying and the other ten spies are quickly saying, "You're not getting me in that land --even if it has milk and honey," two are responding quite differently.

6.  And Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of them that searched the land, rent their clothes:
7.  And they spake unto all the company of the children of Israel, saying, The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land.
8.  If the LORD delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey. 
9.  Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not.

Now what did God think about His people's reaction --and the reaction of Joshua and Caleb? 

22.  Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice; Surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it:

22.  Doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun.

Joshua and Caleb are in ... the others are out.  After 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, Joshua and Caleb will enjoy the spoils, but the others will not enter the land!

Joshua and Caleb saw the giants in the land just as did the other spies.  So why were they not afraid?  Because they believed.  They remembered that their God was with them. 


In all my 23 years, these were the first giants I faced --preterm labor, a C-section, a premature baby, fear ...

And where was God?  He was right there with me! 

Josh was born at 11:21 on Friday, March 13th (yep, Dr. Jekyll, Friday the 13th, I know, I know).  He spent only 3 nights in the NICU and went home with me on his 4th day of life --all 4lbs and 12 ounces of him.

Why am I telling this story --umm, isn't this blog supposed to be about Ethan --and fibular hemimelia.

Well, yes, but more than that --it's about Giants! -and it's about a big God who stays with us as we face them.   You know God could have easily removed the giants; after all, it was His Promised Land and the Israelities were His people.  So why didn't he?  It would have certainly been easier for His children -or so it seems.  Yet, it wouldn't have been best.  In their 40 years wandering, they learned of their God --they learned of His goodness, His provision, His grace, and His love --and they wouldn't have learned about it any other way.

In case you haven't noticed, there are Giants out there.  And while you're on your way to the Promised Land, you're going to encounter several along the way.  You might pray and see God remove some, but more than likely, you're going to learn of Him --His goodness, His provision, His grace, and His love.

Oh how I love Him, and as Ethan faces his first giant, I pray that he does so without fear, knowing that His God is with him --as He was with his big brother, Joshua Caleb.