As I pack my suitcase for another school reunion, I muse on the different paths my classmates’ feet have trod. Some of us stumble across rocky surfaces, trying to avoid sprained ankles. I watch others schlepping through oozing, muddy slime. Some classmates have only known soft and spongy lichen between their toes while some feet skate across glass-smooth ground. The footsteps we take are part our choice and part our circumstances. When we approach a mud puddle, for example, we can choose to skirt it (if it’s not too wide), lay down planks, slog through it, or wait till it dries up.
But always, we live with our choices and the circumstances God puts in our path. Fortunately, He can redeem those situations and choices (if we let Him). He can clean off the mud, dry our feet, and mend the sprain or broken toe. And a cottage with a cozy fireplace waits for us at the end of the journey.
A 2022 Update. I plan to attend our 50th year graduation class reunion in May and our all-boarding-schools reunion in July. I go, not because I’m curious about the different paths we’ve taken, but because we started this journey together, and I want to walk together the rest of the way.
It’s fascinating to me what details we include in peoples’ obituaries to summarize their lives. Most often we include a list of their relatives, but then we talk about what character traits they were known for or what accomplishments they achieved. Fifty, seventy, or ninety years of living are reduced to three to five paragraphs.
Joshua 15:16-19 records an interesting little glimpse into one obscure name—a tiny slice of one man’s life.
The characters in this story:
Caleb, the godly spy
Caleb’s daughter Aksah
Caleb’s nephew Othniel
The Plot: Caleb promises his daughter Aksah to the man who conquers the city of Kiriath-Sepher.
Okay, so we have an 85-year-old man who’s still strong and able to conquer new territory, who decides to use his daughter as a prize. It’s hard to imagine in our culture today, but arranged marriages were the norm at that time. But using her as a prize? I suppose Caleb wanted to find a brave go-getter for her, a conquering hero, and Aksah willingly goes along with the scheme.
So who wins the prize? Caleb’s nephew Othniel. We know nothing more about him except that he is forever remembered as being the man brave enough to fight for the hand of a nobleman’s daughter.
If someone chose to record for all eternity just one event in my life, for what would I be remembered? What one story will be told at my funeral?