This is your reminder that we are fasting and praying during what would be Monday lunch for 1) marriage for those who are designed for it, 2) the courage for men to walk upright and into marriage, and 3) the courage for women to see where we need to change and to change. And as you pray, you might consider these words from our guest writer, Joanne. She’s been subscribing to the blog for a while, but this week she’s writing for us.
He was 40 years old, and finally, the moment he’d waited for his entire life had come. He could picture the life ahead in that beautiful, spacious land, a place of fruitfulness and joy. But due to circumstances beyond his control—the sin of others, in this case—Caleb’s moment passed, thrusting him back into the wilderness he thought he was leaving.
Caleb lived his whole life as a slave. Then came Moses, who led his nation out of Egypt accompanied by so many miracles that Caleb couldn’t help but anticipate the future. When the moment came to spy out the Promised Land, he was ready to take it.
His comrades, with the exception of Joshua, were not. They refused to believe that they could conquer and receive what God had promised them. As a result, the entire generation would wander in the wilderness for another 40 years.
Talk about hope deferred. How did Caleb survive?
His story is a timely one for me as I write just weeks before my fortieth birthday. I can’t imagine Caleb’s life of slavery, but I can identify with reaching one’s fortieth year—the zenith of life, perhaps—and facing deep disappointment that what you waited for your whole life has not yet happened.
For me—as for many of you—those dreams include marriage and motherhood, plus a few other things. Like Caleb, I feel as if my circumstances are beyond my control.
But God didn’t forget Caleb. Right at his moment of disappointment, he received a new promise. While his faithless peers were promised death in the wilderness, Caleb was assured that he would one day inherit the land he had seen (Numbers 14:20-30).
It was a promise of God’s goodness and faithfulness, no matter what generational disobedience surrounded him. Although God’s intended purpose seemed to be thwarted for Caleb, it wasn’t. A day of redemption was coming.
I believe that’s a promise for the many fortyish—as well as twentyish or thirtyish—unmarried women who love God as Caleb did. I have no idea how many more years of singleness you or I may face. I don’t know what God’s plan for motherhood may look like for us. But what I know, as Caleb knew, is that God’s good purpose for us has not been thwarted, despite whatever societal sins and philosophies have hindered marriage. We have not been, will not be, overlooked by our Father.
Caleb was 85 when he finally arrived in the Promised Land. Yet, he said, “As yet I am as strong this day as on the day that Moses sent me; just as my strength was then, so now is my strength for war, both for going out and for coming in” (Joshua 14:11).
Caleb reminds me to steward well the season of delay, meeting God’s provision with thanksgiving instead of complaining, believing in God’s goodness instead of doubting it. Caleb fought for his inheritance all those years by living in faith, marrying, having children—rejoicing fully in what God had for him at that time, yet never losing sight that greater things were coming.
Because Caleb believed his future was worth fighting for, so was his present. When the future arrived, he was not disappointed. Redemption flourished in his aged body, and with a vigor and faith greater than that of the others, he rushed forward to receive his promise—no resentment, no regrets.
As we continue to contend for our futures through fasting and prayer, let’s fight for greater hope and vitality today; this way, we will be fully prepared when it’s our day to enter into God-given, new relational territory.
Joanne Chantelau lives in Franklin, TN, where her favorite writing times take place in front of a sunny window, with a cup of tea. You can read more of her work at www.joannechantelau.com.