Complexity Makes Cowards of Us All

by Dan Grider from his book, “You Were Made For This”

The primary reason to reduce the complex situations in your life is, complexity makes us cowards. When we don’t know how to move forward we default to procrastination. This is a form of cowardice. Every one of us know what we should do next. Many of us just don’t have the courage to do it. When our lives become complex we easily get overwhelmed. 

What should you be doing that you aren’t doing?

When we are fearful or overwhelmed, we look at God, ourselves, and our situation in light of our limitations and difficulties. When the Israelites first considered entering the Promised Land, they came to the border and stopped. In the Old Testament book of Numbers 13 we read the story. The land they had dreamed of was before them, however they were overwhelmed. Their condition produced the report that, “the people who live there are giants, and there is absolutely no way that we Israelites could ever take possession of the land.” Their condition can be seen by the statement, we are nothing more than grasshoppers to them.” 

Unfortunately the nation of Israel believed the ten fearful spies. The result was forty years of oppressive conditions in the wilderness. They were on the doorstep of something that God wanted to do, but their perceived fears kept them from what God had laid out for them. Forty years later the Israelites came to the border of the Promised Land again. Everyone from the previous generation, except Joshua and Caleb, had died. A telling statement comes from Rahab, a woman who lived in the land the spies came to survey before the nation took action. “She explained how, years earlier, things were the opposite of what the Israelites thought was true. The only two who trusted God to do what he said was Joshua and Caleb. They had been right all along. When the spies did their investigation forty years earlier, they had no idea that everybody in the land was actually afraid of God’s people.” They did not see God’s people as small insignificant grasshoppers, as the ten spies had imagined. Reflecting back, Rahab said to them, 

“I know that the Lord has given you this land and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you.We have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to…the two kings of the Amorites…When we heard of it, our hearts melted in fear and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.        Joshua 2:9-11

They had become overwhelmed by their circumstances. Fear had gripped them.  Their perception had been wrong all along. They had perceiving their neighbors as giants. They had forgotten that size did not matter. The truth was they were following a God who was more than capable. But their shift in perspective did not take into account what God wanted to do through them, they could only see the human situation.  In truth their neighbors feared the Israelites because of their God. Fear has a way of distorting our perspective. When you think of how you are going to create the time to fix … you default to that which is manageable. We shrink back to what is familiar. Often that is our chaotic routine. Only when you break out of that routine will you find the bandwidth to tackle what you should be doing.

When you begin you will find it difficult to create the time and space for what you should be doing. For instance you know you should be making disciples that reproduce disciples. If you aren’t intentional about making space to launch a discipleship culture you won’t be successful. Perhaps you are creating a set of reasons not to take the very step Jesus has called you to take.

When we are afraid of others, we are revealing that we are insecure, and we feel powerless. The world is big, bad, and dark, but Rahab’s words can give us encouragement when applied to our situation.

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