I don’t know why it has to be like this, why we have to face those moments when we are already being stretched beyond our abilities and comfort zone, and then something happens and it is the complete opposite of what we were hoping for. The bottom falls out. The rug gets pulled from under us. And not only did we not see it coming, we were fearing the worst all along.
If you have ever had that moment, those moments, you know exactly what I am talking about. Even the memory sends a quiver down your back and tears to your eyes. I’ve had those moments, more than I care to count. Moses had them as well.
His first one had to send him reeling, as if he thought, “See!! This is exactly what I didn’t want to happen!! This is exactly what I did not want to experience!”
But he did. And so do you and I.
It is only natural for us to want a protected, safe, comfortable life, where all our expectations are met and our fears never realized. Nothing too difficult. I don’t know how not to want that! I don’t know how not to crave that.
Maybe that’s how Moses felt on the back side of the desert, minding his own business, keeping sheep. Safe, comfortable days for the most part. Pretty much everything as expected. Life as expected.
Isn’t that what we want? Life as expected? Nothing coming out of nowhere to rock our world? But that seems to be what happens at times, no matter how we try to avoid it. Moses knew it and tried to avoid it himself.
In Exodus 3, when Moses comes upon the burning bush and hears the call from the Lord that he would be sent to Egypt to set the Israelites free, he immediately responds in verse 11, “Who am I that I should go….?”
In Exodus 4, he tries three more times to get out of it! He was trying to hang on so tight to his life as “expected”. Nothing too risky. Nothing too scary. But alas, God had other plans……
Moses had his first “moment” when he and his brother Aaron had gone to Pharoah to tell him that the God of Israel wanted His people released and free to leave Egypt. Moses was already terrified to be doing this, after having gone to the elders of the Israelites informing them of who he was and what God had told him to do. They had believed him and trusted that something good was about to happen.
As can be imagined, Pharaoh was none too pleased about all this talk of his free labor force exiting the economy. So he sent a message, a strong message. Not only were they not released, Exodus 5 describes how the slave drivers were not to supply the straw for the Israelites to make the bricks any longer. They were to take the time to gather their own straw, all the while continuing their same quota for the brick making. This made it inevitable that they did not meet their quota and they were therefore beaten.
The Israelite foremen went to Pharoah to plead the impossibility of their situation, but he refused to relent and went so far as to blame Moses’ request for them to be freed as the reason he had made life even worse for them.
As they left Pharoah, they found Moses and Aaron and said, “May the Lord look upon you and judge you! You have made us a stench to Pharoah and his officials and have put a sword in their hand to kill us.”
Moses’ fear was more than realized! He only worried they would not believe him. He probably never thought he would make things worse. Much worse!
That is the moment. When it feels as though the earth gives way……and the mountains quake…..and we are rocked to our very core. Psalm 46 details a moment such as this. More than one man had experienced this “moment” it seems.
But God has a Word for his people in those moments dreaded so much. “Be still, and know that I am God…” In Psalm 46:10, He gives us a “what to do next” type lesson. Be still and know! We are to stand firm, and wait, and watch!
Watch what? No, watch Whom! We are not to panic, but to stay calm, trusting in the Lord through this worse than feared moment. We are not to give in to feelings but to stand firmly planted in what we know. Who God is and what He has said is truth and that is what we are to be grounded in when the earth gives way…..God uses those moments to reveal Himself further to us. That is why we are to do more than wait. We are to look for and watch what He will do on our behalf.
So as Moses returns to the Lord with the inevitable why, God responds in Exodus 6:1 with, ” Now you will see what I will do…” And so begins the mighty acts of God displayed for all the nation to see! He is about to make Himself known!
I guess that answers my question about why it has to be this way at times. Life is not about knowing what to expect but rather, knowing a God who is greater than what we could ever expect! Life is about faith!
No matter what you may fear or dread in your life right now, God is able to exceed your expectation as well. Just be still a little longer, and soon you will know, just like Moses, the mighty hand of God!