Settling for Good Enough

9:52 AMHeather

In our house, we don't do big Christmas gifts for our children.  This is partly because they are so blessed by generous gifts from grandparents and other family.  This is partly intentional, as well, to work on the idea of contentment.  And this is partly practical--as we have always worked for not-for-profits.  We are blessed with all we need, but do we live on a budget.  

So, one year, we found ourselves in the unusual position of having a little extra as Christmas approached.  Chris and I had discussed it and agreed to purchase a Wii for all three kids.  In fact, we found it on sale and had it tucked away in our attic for about 3 months.  As Christmas drew near, we asked the kids what they'd want.  We KNEW they all wanted a Wii, but they never asked for one on their Christmas list.  Instead, they would always respond with the more typical type of gifts they might receive--such as Lego sets or craft supplies.  On Christmas morning, they opened their gifts from the grandparents, aunts, and uncles.  They were content and happy, chattering away.  And, we had one of the most priceless Christmas memories when we told them there was one more gift upstairs.  They were shocked!  They ran upstairs and opened that big box, and they could hardly believe their eyes.  In fact, although it's been several years,they still talk about that time when Mom and Dad surprised them with something big.

It's been such an amazing adventure this year diving into the Word to unearth all the Scripture I can about God's favor, lovingkindness and grace.  I've been surprised by how much I've gleaned from passages I've read before, and how much I've discovered that I don't remember reading.  Numbers 32 falls into that latter category.  I mean, honestly--I've never intentionally camped out in Numbers before.  But, it offers a challenging insight into how we as God's children can tend to settle for good enough.

While our children had no idea that we had something big for them that Christmas morning, God clearly told his children about the Promised Land.  I mean, this land had been built up for quite some time in their minds.  The land of milk and honey.  The inheritance.  The blessing.  For forty years, these people wandered in the desert, with all their shananigans I've been blogging about, with their eyes on the prize of the Promised Land.  I mean, the name sorta says it all, doesn't it?  The PROMISED land.  So why would anyone settle for less?  

I still don't know the answer to that particular question, but I can tell you that the Reubenites and the Gadites were perfectly content to stay just where they were.  It was good enough for them!  These guys come to Moses in Numbers 32:4-5 and said this: 

...[this land we are currently on] is suitable for 
livestock, and your servants have livestock. 
If we have found favor in your eyes--
let this land be given to your 
servants as our possession.
Do not make us cross the Jordan.

I don't think I ever realized that some of the Israelites actually CHOSE to ignore that Promised Land.  In my mind, they settled for good enough.  Now, Moses did require them to help the Israelites battle for the Promised Land, in accordance with God's commands.  And, they agreed.  They went and fought for the Promised Land, then went back to the "suitable" land to claim as their inheritance.  If you can hardly believe it, too, you can go check it out in Numbers 32. (And, please tell me if you have any additional insights).
This honestly makes me scratch my head.  I'm baffled.  But, then again, is this not a picture of myself?  Is this not how many of us do our business with our God?  How often do we barter with God?  How often do we box God in and say--oh, hey--this seems suitable.  No need to push into that unknown.  Naw, good enough for me.  I don't need to step out in faith.  Who needs a land of milk and honey?  I got suitable.  

Glimpse of grace:  What if on that Christmas morning, my kids had responded to our announcement of one more gift by saying this, "Oh, no.  That's cool.  We have suitable gifts.  No need for more."  What if they had refused to run upstairs to grasp the unseen?  What if they had not pressed on for more?  But, we do this every day in our walks with God.  We box him in.  We say, "our relationship with You, Lord, is suitable.  No need to carve out time to dig deeper."  Or, we choose to behave in a "suitable" way, refusing to press further to a transformed life--even down to a transformed thought life.  Or, we believe what we see and feel is just suitable enough.  We don't need to step out in faith for what BIG unseen things God might have for us or ways He might want to use us.  

This whole passage of Numbers 32 makes me wonder this.  How often do I say, "Lord, grant me this favor of giving me what I can see that I want?" instead of asking, "Lord, grant me the favor to trust you for what I don't see that might be so much more than I can ever imagine."  That we might all make this our prayer.  Lord, grant me the favor of courage to press on to the unseen promises--to believe You for what we can't see or even imagine--and to not be satisfied with what is suitable!  Help our hearts to trust you for more. 

Bloggy friends, I believe with all my heart that we serve a BIG God, capable of big things.  That we might refuse to ask for just the suitable.  What Promised Lands might we enter?!

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