Monday, February 04, 2013

Half-Empty or Half-Full

Is the glass half-empty or half-full? So much depends on our point of view. I have always been a half-full sort of person until a few years ago. A number of things contributed—most I can’t even remember anymore. All I can say is that sometimes life takes over and things can start to look grim; between  struggles with relationships, events, unexpected news—my stuff—other’s stuff—it doesn’t take long for half-empty to take over.  

This was true for the twelve spies who were sent to scope out the land that was promised to them by God. Moses sent one man from each of the twelve tribes of Israel with instructions to find out all they could about the place they would soon be entering. Moses instructed them to, “See what the land is like and whether the people who live there are strong or weak, few or many. What kind of land do they live in? Is it good or bad?…How is the soil? Is it fertile or poor? Are there trees…?” And, so the twelve men set out to spy the land and bring back a report. 

Upon their return, the men said, “We went into the land…and it does flow with milk and honey…but the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there.” 

Caleb said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we certainly can do it.” But, the men who had gone with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” And they spread a bad report about the land inciting fear in the people. 

Caleb and Joshua saw half-full. The rest of the spies and the fearful people in Israel saw half-empty. Caleb and Joshua trusted when God said, “Send some men to explore the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites.” It was already promised. 

There are so many things I can apply from this story. The biggest one for me is not to allow fear to keep me from entering the place where God is leading. He prepares the way and gives me the faith to overcome my fearful thoughts of half-empty glasses. Despite what the land looks like, or how big the obstacles appear, He will be the one to bring me there. 

I can apply this to my writing, speaking, new ministry, changes in my circumstances, moving to a new place, or an unknown future. Because of my tendency toward fear, I know I need to assimilate this on a daily basis because fear cannot coincide with faith.  

How about you? What have you spied out lately and how does it affect your response to God’s direction?


Read more about the adventure of the twelve spies in Numbers 13 & 14
Quotations above taken from the NIV


  1. Jeanne,
    Thank you for this lovely and well written message. Today my emotions say half-empty as I desire to "feel better" after a week of flu. But I choose to say it is half full with my mind, knowing My strength will be restored because He promised.

  2. So glad you are regaining your strength, Glenda. Choosing is essential :)

  3. Thanks so much for this encouraging word! I can relate! I went through some severe struggles a few years back that I thought would never come to an end. I felt like I had lost everything; my children, my home, my finances. I was in the depths of despair saying God, "how you let this happen to one who has loved you for so long"? I learned through many errors of my own, He never left me, never forsook me. He was there are the time!

  4. Having the freedom to be transparent and say that we have struggled is huge. Sometimes I think, we think we need to be strong and perfect--when God wants us to be surrendered to His care. I struggle with this too.

    Blessings to you "Western NY"

  5. I talk about some of this in one of my topics called, Battle Worn, Battle Weary: Finding Victory in Surrender.

    Jesus offers abundant life but the enemy comes to steal and destroy. I will be teaching on this at retreats in New Hampshire this year.

  6. I could never understand the difference between half full and half empty until my 6 year old grandson replied to his father's comment " Drink your juice, the glass is still half full." My grandson's comment was "Dad the glass is half empty." His father asked him what the difference was. He said "if you are filling it up and you get to the middle it is half full. If you are drinking it and get to the middle it is half empty."
    I like to think of our walk with God in terms of half full or half empty. If you are growing in your walk with God(and I like to think that I still am at age 70) then your glass is half full and you can look forward to the wonderful things of God as He continues to fill your glass. If your glass is half empty, your walk with God has reached its summit and you emptying the glass. Not much to look forward to there.
    May all your glasses be half full.

  7. Great insight, Victor. As a Christian, half-full has many benefits. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


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