The easy life. It is a fundamental desire of every human heart. We all wish for the day of no bills, no sickness, no goodbyes and a sense of deep peacefulness. We long for a full bank account with stress-free days of sunshine and relaxation. Like the adage that “everyone works for the weekend,” our heart also leans toward a good life. While God’s love for us is unquestionable, His expression of it can leave us scratching our heads at times. Why are our lives not just warm days at the beach for each of us?
“I will not drive them out from before thee in one year; lest the land become desolate, and the beast of the field multiply against thee. By little and little I will drive them out from before thee, until thou be increased, and inherit the land.”
In one unassuming verse tucked in the historical story of Israel, God reveals His purpose for not spoiling us. Israel was in a grand struggle. They were doing what God said (taking ownership of the promised land), but there were countless obstacles. When God could have supernaturally cleared out the godless enemies for His people, He determined that to be an unhealthy strategy. He decided a little struggle is essential to the process of building integrity.
While salvation is an event, maturity is a life-long journey.
There were two pieces of God’s means of bringing His people to the good life.
- “By little and little.”
He would help them clear out the enemy, but He would do it slowly. Emptying the land of all inhabitants at once would have been destructive to the nation. It would have left Israel in a dilemma of the vegetation growing overtly wild and it would give way to the overpopulation of dangerous animals. God was going to win the battles in their lives, but not in one day. He would help them take one step at a time.
- “Until thou be increased.”
God would use the process of time to mature His people. The strategy would be to help Israel win battles until enough time passed for them to become stronger and wiser. As much as we would all love to be spiritually mature, it never happens outside of the passing of time. There is an extraordinary power that time brings to the maturity process that book study and college classes cannot give. While salvation is an event, maturity is a life-long journey. Maturity is one of those qualities that sneaks up over time. It’s also one that when you think you have it, you probably don’t.
God has a reason for all He does and does not do. If we are patient enough and willing to give Him a chance, He usually reveals the why. Our lives are a book in process, being written one chapter at a time.