How To Embrace Life’s Challenges

Date: March 8, 2024

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.  Hebrews 11:6


Of all the individuals I would like to emulate, none ranks much higher on my list than a man who began his life’s most challenging task at the age of 85. No, he didn’t climb mountains or jump out of an airplane; he asked to lead an invasion. His name: Caleb, and you can read about this hero of a bygone generation in the Bible, Joshua 13 and 14.

In the event that his name isn’t familiar to you, let me brief you. When Moses selected 12 spies to enter Canaan and check out the land, 10 of the 12 came back with an overwhelmingly negative report. They were certain that the task before them was impossible. If discouragement looks at the circumstances while faith look to God, the 10 were purveyors of gloom and doom. “The cities have walls as high as the sky, and the men there made us look like grasshoppers,” they reported.

Two of the others, Caleb and his partner Joshua, said, “Yes, we saw the same things but God will surely give it to us.” God disdained the negativism of the 10 who spurned His promise to give them the land of Canaan, and as judgment He said that Israel would not cross the Jordan and take the land until those ten had died.

Though we can’t say for sure, it’s highly probable that Joshua and Caleb were pallbearers for at least some of the ten. One by one they passed away, and eventually all were gone but Joshua, who succeeded Moses, and Caleb.

That’s when Caleb, then 85, asks Joshua for the privilege of taking the hill country of Hebron. He tells Joshua that when he earlier checked out the land, he gave a report “according to my convictions” (to use his words). Strange that he saw what others entirely missed. Then he added, “I followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly” (Joshua 14:8).

What a man!  Caleb was not so much a visionary as he was a man of simple faith! He had what Martin Luther described as “a lively, reckless confidence in God.”  Elton Trueblood spoke of faith as trust without reservation rather than belief without proof.

Discouragement always focuses on circumstances, while faith focuses on the promises of God, assured that His nature and character will back up the promise. It was the same attitude that Abraham had when God promised him a son at the time when most men are thinking of anything but converting a store room into a nursery.

Caleb at age 85 asked to lead the assault in taking one of the most difficult areas in all of Canaan. If that isn’t pluck, then what is it? He went for the toughest task to demonstrate that giants were not invincible, that the bigger they are the harder they fall, and regardless of how strong you may or may not be, when God chooses to give you power over your enemies, even the Goliaths come tumbling down.

Another one of my heroes, a modern one, was an Olympic athlete turned missionary, who, having finished his education, asked his mission board to send him to the most difficult place they could envision, and that is how Raymond Buker and his young wife came to Burma, now known as Myanmar.

Before you decide that the promises of God may apply to others but not you, better read about Caleb and ask yourself if the God who gave him his heart’s desire is indifferent to what He has promised you.

Remember, faith always sees the promises of God. It sees what others miss. That’s faith.

Resource reading: Joshua 14:6-15.