Recently, I have been learning about God’s faithfulness and how I need to trust in Him when the circumstances around me seem insurmountable. In chapters 13 and 14 of the book of Numbers, Moses describes the time when the Israelites were on the border of the land God had promised them. They sent twelve spies into the land to see if it was truly a land flowing with milk and honey. When the spies returned, they told of the greatness of the land, but the majority of them focused on the people they saw, telling of their strength and size, and of their fortified cities. They compared their own strength with that of the “enemy” and felt small and weak in relation to the “giants” they faced. The only ones who put their trust in the Lord were Joshua and Caleb, and they were not afraid of defeat because they focused on God and His might. They knew they would succeed because the Lord had promised the land to them, and He was with them.
Like the Israelites, I often face situations that seem impossible to overcome without harm. Yesterday God gave me an opportunity to put my trust in Him and see His might help me overcome a “giant” in my life.
My husband and I were unaware of a law in this country that requires you to register any change of passport with the local police. According to local law, they can fine you for every day you are late in registering; we had changed our daughter’s passport five months ago. When I went in to get a necessary document for her new visa, the local police sent me on to the main foreign-affairs bureau in our district. Knowing we were in the wrong, I trusted that God would be with me and move the hearts of the officials I would encounter. They were the “giants.” In faith, since God had called me to be here, I did not need to fear. I knew that God was with me and that He would take care of anything that was standing in the way of us getting the visa we needed.
After the official explained my “crime,” I said that I was unaware of that law. Unmoved by my ignorance, he told me that even if I was not aware of the law, I was still responsible when I break it. He asked me if I was willing to admit the wrong I was accused of and accept the fines I owed according to the law.
This reminded me of truths found in Scripture—we are all guilty of wrong-doing, of breaking the law. We may sometimes have acted out of ignorance, but even in our ignorance, we are still guilty of our sins. Leviticus 4:13 says, If the whole Israelite community sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden in any of the Lord’s commands, even though the community is unaware of the matter, they are guilty. I was unaware of breaking the law, but my guilt under the law still remained. I knew I was guilty and the fine was just.
I agreed to accept whatever price I would have to pay. As we talked, I appealed to the official for grace—unmerited favor—not because of anything I had done, who I knew, or what I might be able to do, but because of his mercy. As the words came out of my mouth, I was reminded of God’s sacrifice for us—His death on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins and His unmerited grace to us, as sinners. We are responsible for the fines and penalties for our crimes; but in His mercy, He has paid them in full.
Since I was willing to admit my wrongdoing and accept my punishment in the form of a fine, the official mercifully gave me the lowest fine allowable by the law. He brought over a piece of paper that was filled in with my crime and all the information related to my offense. In order to pay my fine, he told me all I had to do was admit my guilt and sign my name to the form. The form would then serve as a “warning,” and I would no longer be ignorant of the law. Does that not sound like what Jesus did for us? He does not desire that any of us should have to pay the full penalty of our crimes. All we have to do is admit that we have sinned and confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord.
As I left the office, I was amazed at how God had tamed the heart of the “giant” I had just faced and at the unmerited favor I received from the two officials. I believe they saw something different in me. The main officer even mentioned how most people are not willing to admit their fault, pretending they do not understand what the officer is saying. I was willing to admit to him my wrong, and that made all the difference in his lenience.
As a believer, I am to speak the truth, even when it hurts. Through it all, God’s desire is to build my faith and provide opportunities for me to please Him and experience His hand in my life. I needed to not fear my “giant,” for God was, and is, with me.