When I was little, I had a favorite book entitled “Fortunately, Unfortunately” by Remy Charlip. The main character has a series of mishaps getting to a party: “Fortunately, Ned was invited to a surprise party! Unfortunately, the party was a thousand miles away.” My favorite was when he jumped out of a plane, but discovered a hole in his parachute – “Fortunately, there was a haystack! Unfortunately, there was a needle in the haystack. Fortunately, he missed the needle! Unfortunately he missed the haystack.” Made me laugh every time!
Our own lives can be a series of “fortunately’s” and “unfortunately’s”, can’t they? Good news follows bad news and vice versa – the key is to stay centered on Christ and faithful through all seasons. One way to stay centered is watching our words.
Numbers 13:26-33 is a very familiar passage to most of us, the spies scouting out the land of Canaan for Moses and reporting back. It’s a fortunately/unfortunately situation!
Fortunately, the land was bountiful and plentiful! Unfortunately, the people were powerful. Fortunately, the land produces great fruit! Unfortunately, the cities were fortified. Fortunately the Lord was with them! Unfortunately, there were giants in the land.
The “unfortunately”s won the day, in spite of the fact that the land was already promised to them, in spite of the fact that one spy (Caleb) returned with great confidence in the Lord’s ability to help them conquer. Caleb told them, ” Let us go up at once and possess it, for we are able to overcome it” (Numbers 13: 30). Immediately following this proclamation of faith, the other spies spread a “bad report about the land among the Israelites”.
Let’s take a look at the “bad report”:
“the other men who had explored the land with him disagreed.’We can’t go up against them! They are stronger than we are!’ So they spread this bad report about the land among the Israelites: ‘The land we traveled through and explored will devour anyone who goes to live there. All the people we saw were huge. We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak. Next to them we felt like grasshoppers, and that’s what they thought, too!’ ” (13:32 NLT)
Don’t miss what these spies just said: “we felt like grasshoppers, and that’s what they thought, too!”
If these spies were doing their jobs, their presence would have gone completely unnoticed by the giants. There would have been announcement, no conversation, no inquiry as to how the giants felt. How did the spies know what the giants were thinking? The truth is, they had no idea what the giants were thinking. When they created an imaginary dialog in their own heads, they lost the victory God intended.
Fortunately, God is on your side! Unfortunately, there are times when you convince yourself that you are “like a grasshopper”. It’s those times when we feel insecure or insignificant or afraid that we begin to convince ourselves that the people around us feel the same way about us, and it goes downhill from there.
As recorded in the New Testament, Jesus teaches about the power of our words: “For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says” (Mark 11:23 NKJV). Just as easily as we can encourage ourselves with the right attitude/words, we can discourage ourselves with wrong attitude/words.
Keeping a good confession is key to keeping confidence in the Lord. Take a hint from the “fortunately”s today: follow the Lord in obedience right away, with His help you are well able to overcome!
If you feel like a grasshopper, if you feel insignificant or alone, encourage yourself with the Word of God. Nothing can separate you from His love and attention. Now that you know it, talk like it 🙂 Fortunately, God is on your side – and that’s a treasure! Praying you can encourage yourself today –