August 21, 2012

Divine Dance

When my daughter, Megan, was four or five years old, we were at a restaurant that had a live band. I got distracted for a moment and when I looked up, there she was dancing right next to the band. She was the only one in the whole place dancing! She was spinning around with a huge smile on her face, and I’ve always remembered that picture of pure joy. She couldn’t care less about what anyone thought about her. She was just dancing and enjoying life. I thought, “That’s really what the divine dance is all about.” It’s not done for the judges. It’s not done for the audience. It’s done out of a reckless abandonment to pure joy that comes straight from the heart. Divine dancing can take place on sunny days, and divine dancing can take place on cloudy, dark and rainy days because divine dancing is not dependent at all on circumstances. It’s a gift from God that He places within our hearts.

The gifts that money can’t buy, gifts like unwavering passion for life in the middle of problems. Gifts like unfettered joy no matter what the circumstances. Those are the gifts that make the divine dance so beautiful. In the Bible, there was a man named Caleb who at 85 years old, was more passionate for God and life than he had ever been. He still had his divine dancing shoes on. I mean, this guy had more passion for life than he had ever had before. The dance of divine passion is a key ingredient that changes everything in our lives.

In this story, Caleb had every reason to lose his passion. 45 years before, Moses had sent Caleb and another 11 spies into the Promise Land to scope out the land and bring back a report to see whether or not the children of Israel could go into the Promise Land to take it. Caleb and Joshua cam back and told the Israelites, “This is a land flowing with milk and honey. It’s our land. God wants us to take it, and we can take it with His power.” They were outvoted 10 to 2 because the other ten came back and said, “This is a land flowing with milk and honey, but there are giants in the land. There’s a people called the Anakites, and they’re huge. There’s no way we can go in there and take them. We’ve got to get out of there.” Because of their unbelief, God called the Israelites to wander around in the desert for 40 more years until a whole generation of non-dancers died out. A whole generation of complainers died out, and so here we were, 45 years later. Moses the leader had died. Joshua had now taken over. He was getting ready to lead a whole new generation of Israelites into the Promised Land, and here again we saw Caleb. There were only two people left in the whole generation, the two divine dancers, Joshua and Caleb. Here Caleb was again, 45 years later, on the doorstep of his destiny, and that’s where we pick up the story in Joshua 14.

“Now, the men of Judah approached Joshua at Gilgal, and Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, ‘You know what the Lord said to Moses, the man of God at Kadesh Barnea, about you and me. I was forty years old when Moses, the servant of the Lord, sent me from Kadesh Barnea to explore the land. And I brought him back a report according to my convictions, but my brothers who went up with me made the hearts of the people melt with fear. I, however, followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly. So, on that day, Moses swore to me, ‘The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance and that of your children forever because you have followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly.’ ‘Now then, just as the Lord promised, he has kept me alive for forty-five years since the time he said this to Moses, while Israel moved about in the desert. So here I am today, eighty-five years old! I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. Now give me this hill country that the Lord promised me that day. You, yourself heard then that the Anakites were there, and their cities were large and fortified, but, the Lord helping me, I will drive them out just as he said.’ Then Joshua blessed Caleb son of Jephunneh and gave him Hebron as his inheritance.”

Problems usually steal our passion and joy in life. Caleb is a guy who’s 85 years old, been wandering in the desert for 45 years for no fault of his own, and yet, he’s more passionate about the divine dance than he’s ever been. I want to know how to have that kind of passion. What if you had that kind of passion for the divine dance of life on a daily basis? The key is to learn how to keep your passion in life even in difficult times. How do you keep dancing when you travel through the deserts of life? Share your stories in the comments below, I’d love to discuss and dive into the topic of divine dancing.

Photo by: Kathryn Decker-Krauth