"I need nine more months," I whispered as I anxiously sat on the sofa across from my husband.
I'm very pregnant with our first precious baby girl. She will be making her appearance any time now. The nursery is set, the clothes washed and hung up, and the baby books read. My heart is bursting with gratefulness for this gift. Yet, I don't feel ready. I feel that I'm standing on the boundary of a new wilderness land that is to be my home. I'll never return to the land that has been known to me all of these years. I love the land behind. Full of struggles and growth, independence and adventure, the Lord's faithfulness to me.
Yet, the land in front is better, fuller, richer, more wild and free, demanding more and giving more. I'm leaning over the threshold, tenuously held back by an encompassing labor that will rush in new life. It's a labor that will leave me more alive than I've ever been, holding a tiny new soul who's embarking on her very own first adventure.
In the Old Testament book of Joshua, we find a much grander story of the nomadic Hebrew people on the verge of inhabiting their own new land. The Hebrew people were a large, ancient group made up of 12 tribes. Two of these tribes had descended from Joseph (the multicolored coat Joseph). The Lord had just finished dividing up the new Promised Land into 12 plots to give to the 12 tribes. After hearing their allotment, the two tribes of Joseph did not respond in gratitude. Instead, they complained that their land was not satisfactory. It wasn't big enough or good enough to house their people as they expected.
Like these two tribes who had just been allotted their new promised land, I have been granted a new land. And just like them, I have responded by anxiously whispering-- not to my husband-- but to the Lord, "This land is not enough." I need more time. I need more space. I'm not ready. You haven't given me what I need. I don't trust you.
A few tribes down the road, we see another family allotted a plot of land--but this time with a very different response. At the head there stands an old man with wild eyes named Caleb. He is one of the only remaining in his generation and is known for spying out the Promised Land forty years earlier. At that time, the land was inhabited by hostile enemies who were fearsome warriors. In spite of this reality, Caleb came back to the rest of the tribes with an optimistic report, declaring that the Lord would go before them and grant them this land as he had already promised he would. In his forties, Caleb knew the Lord was giving them the land, and he was ready to act. Now in his eighties, his strength and resolve remain intact. He's old and bold and fearlessly ready to enter into the untamed land the Lord has promised. He leads his family and his tribe into the unknown with a sure promise, "Be strong and very courageous, for the Lord is with us."
I'm joining the tribe of Caleb. I'm choosing to look over with wild, trusting eyes into the beautiful land the Lord has provided.
And like that great shepherd-king David I say, "The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance." (Psalms 16:5-6)
The Lord has lovingly placed boundary lines around each of us. They are good lines encircling good things, even though they may painfully pull out of us what should not be there. Whether today it's a new, unknown land or an old, weary land or a dead, dry land may we be a company of Calebs, declaring the Lord's faithfulness to us in whatever he has allotted.