Excerpt from the upcoming book The Dream Closet
Written by Liz Coffel
Complain or Claim
In Deuteronomy Chapter 1 we see Moses speaking to the Israelites and reminding them of how they rebelled against God. God promised the Israelites a good land, a promise land. Scouts were sent into the promise land, and scripture says that they took a cluster of grapes and it was draped over a pole and had to be carried by two men back to the Israelites. Now that would be some HUGE grapes. This was a direct representation of the BIG promises and blessing this land had for the Israelites! Yet they still didn’t believe they could conquer the giants of the land and claim the promise God had for them.
They chose to complain instead of claim. They sat in their tents and complained about this circumstance. They verbally said that God must hate them, that there was no way they could conquer the giants that occupy that land. Essentially the Israelites let the fear of people and circumstance get the best of them. They had their trust in the world and what they saw instead of putting their trust in the father who had led them out of captivity in Egypt and every step of the way in their wanderings ensured they were safe and sheltered. Every step of the way their father cared for them and protected them. Yet this still wasn’t enough for them to fully believe.
How did God react to this? Scripture says he was angry! He swore that none of those in that wicked generated would live to see and occupy the promise land. The only exception was Caleb as He fully followed the Lord.
In your life have you had the “Israelite” moments? I know I have. Those moments when it looks so bleak and dark and you just can’t seem to find God amid the chaos. I know I have had times where I too have felt that God was not looking at and seeing my hearts desires. Times I felt he didn’t care about what I had stored up in my dream closet. In fact, many times I felt He had slammed the door on that closet. I am thankful for a Father who extends grace when we fail at fully trusting Him.
One season I can recall “sitting in the tent complaining” or rather rationalizing what the physical signs were an indication of. It was pregnancy # 4 and spotting had started. But before we dive into my rational thinking in that season, have you seen the movie God’s Not Dead?
There is a scene in this movie where the pastor for a couple days has attempted to head out on a trip but every time, he loads the vehicle, gets in and turns the key nothing happens. No fire. No spark. Just flat out will not start. I believe it was the third time that he attempts to leave and this time he has a visiting pastor with him. As the scene plays out the pastor approaches the vehicle and this time does not attempt to load the luggage into the car. Why? Well his experience is that the vehicle has not started in the past attempts so why load up like it will this time. He didn’t want to put the bags in the car until he knew it would turn over. The pastor with him said, put the bags in the car! The other pastor rationalized why he didn’t put the bags in the car yet as he didn’t have faith it would start. The pastor said you need to put your bags in the car! This is having faith it will start. As this scene finishes the pastors loads the bags in the car, both get into the vehicle and guess what? The car starts.
So back to Pregnancy #4 and the spotting had begun. My husband and I had experienced a miscarriage before our Son and after his birth when trying again for another child. I was now pregnant for the 4th time and I knew from experience that spotting led to miscarriage. Not because I was a doctor but because I had lived it two times previous. And each time it led to a miscarriage. My husband at that time worked downstate so he would be gone during the week. I remember calling him and sharing with him what was happening. I can recall walking him through how this was going to play out. Because in the physical the signs were not positive. They were all too familiar from past experience. Experiences marked with much pain and grief. Do you want to know how he responded to this? He said “Hun, you need to put your bags in the car!”
Wow was I furious! I like the Israelites was giving every excuse as to why this was not going to work. The obstacle is too high, to huge, the signs I am seeing are not signs of a happy ending. For weeks my husband just kept saying “Put your bags in the car”. Each time the frustration would ease a bit. You see he was not looking at the physical but rather He was trusting God, and in his heart, God said it is going to work to your good. I was about 7 weeks along when we went for an ultrasound, mind you the spotting was still present. The doctors said and warned me that they would attempt to see if the pregnancy was viable but not to get my hopes up that I or they would see much as I was still early in the pregnancy.
God is SO good! As the doctor completed the ultrasound, he not only saw our little blessing, but we indeed saw more than I think he even thought was possible and that was the flicker of her heartbeat! That flicker was the hope I needed but the hope husband was feeling all along. After this appointment I saw my holistic doctor who through muscle testing determined my spotting was due to a calcium deficiency. I went on calcium magnesium supplements and within a weeks’ time the spotting had stopped.
At the point that I “put my bags in the car” God honored the trust I had put in Him and gave a peace that all was going to be ok. And it was in 01/2015 during a blizzard my daughter Grace was born. Happy healthy and yet another promise fulfilled by God. Another dream from that dream closet that God saw all along. When I thought He had slammed the door and didn’t care He was working behind that door in the dark taking my negatives and creating positives.
My hope is that hearing my story and revisiting the story of the Israelites will reveal to you that when God promises you something, He means it. He is always faithful! When God tells you to go claim and occupy that land DO IT! God is not looking for the complainers he is looking for the claimers! The believers who read and listen to His promises and chase after them to claim them as their own. Even if you see giants in that land, obstacles in the journey He is your strength and if He promised it to you, He will help you slay those giants and jump over those obstacles and claim the land that is rightfully yours!
The question becomes…. are you a complainer or claimer? Are you standing on his promises like Caleb, ready to claim the land He has promised to you? Or are you sitting in your tent like the Israelite’s drafting up as list of reason as to why you cannot do it or why it will not happen.
Be a Caleb!