Suddenly the doorbell rang.
Wonderful. My makeup had melted strategically into all the lifelines on my face, my eyes were strangely swollen and shrunken at the same time, and I wasn’t exactly dressed for company. Maybe if I hold my breath they’ll go away, I thought.
The doorbell rang again. I squinted through the peep hole in the front door at a hot, tired man who wouldn’t take silence for an answer. I knew I could outlast him—I was on the lock side, after all. But what if my front lawn had blown up and he was just trying to check for survivors? I guessed I really did need to know if there was a gaping hole in my grass. For some reason.
Knowing he couldn’t see through our security screen door at how terrible I looked, I finally spoke to the persistent ringer on the other side of the steel mesh divider. “My name is Caleb,” he began, and then he tried to sell me exterminator service. But there was no way I was gonna sign on his dotted line—I’d have to open the door, and that wasn’t gonna happen.
His interruption worked, though. The tears had stopped, and as I locked the front door again, I returned to the living room and turned my attention back to Jesus.
“Really, God?” I accused. “I ask you for help and you send a bug guy?”
“Yeah,” He said to my soggy heart. “But what was his name?”
Caleb. Somebody important in the Bible was named Caleb, but that’s all my parched brain could come up with.
“Look it up,” God pushed. I can take a hint. I sniffed a final sniff and did what He said.
So. Caleb. Did you know you can google anything and get answers almost as fast as a cry to heaven? Turns out Caleb was one of the two full-of-faith spies who believed God at the entrance to the Promised Land. Twelve men spent forty days on a recon mission, and when they returned six weeks later laden with grapes as large as their heads, Joshua and Caleb told the children of Israel, “We can do this! We can take this land and win this battle over our enemies!”
The other ten spies disagreed. Despite surviving forty days undetected by giant adversaries, they now stood shaking in their sandals at the prospect of posting foreclosure notices on the pagan squatters. Sometimes you can’t see the forest for the trees.
Bad press is powerful. That whole mass of Hebrew humanity nearly rioted in the streets after hearing the pessimistic perspective of those ten scaredy cats. Suddenly their audience wished they’d never heard of Moses or God, preferring to have died in the desert—or even in Egypt—and tried to stage a deadly coup right on the spot.
But it was Caleb, whose name means whole hearted, who appealed to their senses.
“Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it. . . . And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the LORD is with us. Do not be afraid of them.” Numbers 13:30; 14:9
Do not be afraid. It was eight days since I got the call no one ever wants to get. Forty-eight hours after my D&C, the doctor’s office called and asked me to come in right away. Twenty minutes later the compassionate woman told me they found cancer in my uterus. And once that sunk in for a few seconds, she followed up by saying, “But it’s the best kind of cancer to get.” Slow growing, very common, usually discovered early because it’s the only female cancer with symptoms. Highly survivable. But all I heard was cancer.
And God. I heard God, Who said again and again and again to me as I plunged into the paradoxical depths of both fear and His Word, “Don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid of the people of the land because they are bread to us—we will swallow them up. . . I Am the Lord Who says to you, Fear not, I will help you! Fear not, there is nothing to fear.”
And I stood at the entrance of the Promised Land trying to decide Who to believe—the scaredy cats who looked a lot like me, or the courageous voices who believed God, the One Who never lies.
I chose to believe God.
But I had to ask Him again, “Really, Jesus? A bug guy?”
“Well,” He responded with amusement in my spirit, “the devil was bugging you. And it was time to squash him.”
I love His perspective.