And Caleb said,
“Today I am eighty-five years old. I am as strong now as I was when Moses sent me on that journey, and I can still travel and fight as well as I could then. So I’m asking you to give me the hill country that the LORD promised me.” Joshua 14:10-13
Caleb was speaking to Joshua. These two were the only men from their generation still alive from the exodus out of Egypt. According to scripture, after the children of Israel left Egypt Moses sent some 12 spies into the land of Canaan to see what the land and the inhabitants were like. You know…their weapons, fortifications etc.
When the spies returned, 10 of them were so fearful of what they saw, that the rest of the people refused to go and fight for the promise land; except for two people – Caleb and Joshua. Because of the majority refusal, God decided to have His people travel around the land until all the people who were fearful died – that took 45 years. Caleb is now 85 years old when he says the quote above and claims to be just as strong as earlier in his life.
How can someone hold on to a passion that long? How long would it take for you to give up on what you believe should be yours?
When your life begins to be aligned with God’s, one thing is certain; how much you want a thing doesn’t trump God’s timing. Patience will always be the important virtue you will learn in following God. In fact, your identity is not found in your ability to get what you want but in the struggling and suffering of “delay or failure”. You see your character with clarity, not in good times but in the tough.
If Caleb was still as passionate at 85 as he was at 40 years old about getting his land, how was he able to stomach not having his passionate desires met daily for forty-five years? I don’t know. I’m not even sure if I could. But what I do know is that Caleb reveals a true image of passion with patience.
In the process of going towards what you want, length of time always distinguishes between conviction and preference. Passion and Patience are bedfellows. You are not going to find one without the other. True passion is always tested with time, like silver being purified in the heat of fire.
Let me share a good illustration that my mentor gave me for patience. Imagine a soon-to-be-mom in the delivery room and the doctor is saying, “push….stop pushing…..push….stop pushing”. Patience is best understood in the ‘stop pushing’. Patience is resting in the process of child-birthing with expectation and anticipation. It’s not hopeless waiting.
You know that you are going to have a child but you are waiting for the voice of the one who knows when you should ‘push’. This is what Caleb was doing. Waiting for the timing of God.
I know it’s difficult to ‘stop pushing’ or even hear those words after you have began to ‘push’ but patience needs to be a virtue you have if you are to handle and manage the dream you have in mind…or baby for that matter.