I’m a terrible dancer. For weeks leading up to our wedding, my husband and I practiced that step-slide-slide movement until I could stumble my way through it. Our one dance together was simple—no twists or turns—just three stilted steps.
It reminds me of my walk with God. I step then stumble. I start too early and stop too late. Most of the time, it looks like a tangled two-step.
Fortunately I’m not the only who struggles to keep her steps straight. It seems Israel struggled too. The people went when God said wait. They cowered when God said go. And they wound up wandering in the desert for forty years until they got their steps straight.
Deuteronomy recounts the tale. God told Israel to take the Promise Land. He would fight for them, so they didn’t need to fear. But the spies they sent into the land brought a bad report and discouraged the people. By the time it was over, the whole congregation revolted and God refused to let them enter the land (Deuteronomy 1:18–25).
Once they realized what a mess they’d made, they agreed to go up. But this time, God refused to bless their efforts. He wouldn’t act on their time or terms. As a result of their untimely attack, they fled like bees before their enemies (Deuteronomy 1:41–44).
Tucked between these two tangled tales, as Israel waited and went at all the wrong times, we find one steadfast man. When his peers faltered, Caleb remained faithful. So God said to him, “Not one of these men of this evil generation shall see the good land…except Caleb the son of Jephunneh. He shall see it, and to him and to his children I will give the land on which he has trodden, because he has wholly followed the Lord!” (Deuteronomy 1:35–36)
Caleb wholly followed the Lord. Not kind of, not sort of, not maybe, nor on his terms. He followed God with his whole heart. He learned the dance. And he reaped a rich reward. Out of twelve spies and thousands of people, only Caleb and Joshua would see the land and receive an inheritance. The rest of their generation would die wandering in the wilderness.
What would it look like to dance like that? What if you and I came to the place where we followed God regardless of the fallout? Even if it meant fighting battles or living on little, facing fears or standing up to our peers. What if I truly believed God’s call was worth the struggles and his reward worth the wait?
I am so far from living like Caleb. But I want to get there. I want to stay in step with God so that it might be said of me, “She wholly followed the Lord.” That sounds like a pretty great ending, and an even better reward.
What do you say? Shall we let God lead? Shall we dance?