Glenn and I lay in bed the other night talking about everything that is going on right now in the world, what it means for us, what our response should be, what should we be preparing for – especially spiritually..
Since before we even met, Glenn and I have held a shared vision. Something buried in our hearts that we felt we were called to. When we met and married, it only deepened and grew. I’m not going to say what it is…..but it’s there.
Of course, we had a picture in our mind of what it was going to look like, and we thought we knew how it would all unfold. Ever heard the saying, “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him YOUR plans?”
We also thought it was right around the corner. We were young, zealous, passionate about God and all that we thought He was going to do. We felt ready, prepared, poised for action.
We’ve been married almost 35 years, and guess what. We’re still waiting….
In fact, as the years have clicked along, those things we held deep in our heart began to take a backseat. Oh we made choices, moves, and thought we could see it starting a few times……but it never came to fruition and so, although it never really left us, our focus shifted to the more immediate challenges of finances, raising children, and just weathering the challenges, disappointments, and heartache of real life. Oh, don’t get me wrong….there were many fun times, happy times, lots of both tears and laughter, and times we sat and marvelled at all that was happening to us and through us.
Nevertheless, not gonna lie, the years have taken a toll. A toll financially, physically (we’re not spring chickens anymore, you know) and spiritually. We’ve questioned and felt abandoned and wondered what the heck was God thinking or doing?
Kinda like right now…..
I’m no doom and gloom prophet, but I won’t be surprised if the days ahead are not going to be a lot of fun. No matter how this thing turns out, no matter how long it takes to get the upper hand with this virus, things are not going to be the same, and it’s going to be tough for many, or even most.
It’s made me question…. Actually, it’s made me question a lot of things, and I’m not always thrilled by the few answers. But most of all, it has made me question this ‘thing’ we’ve carried for almost 40 years.
Some would say 40 is a significant number. We will see….
Anyway, I said to a dear friend the other day, why could these things not have all happened when I was young, zealous, and passionate, ready to take on whatever came my way? Kind of like a plaque I read one time that said “Why couldn’t all of life’s problems have happened when I was 18 and knew everything????”
Not gonna lie……I’m probably at one of my lowest points ever, spiritually speaking. I have felt a numbness, a dullness spiritually, and a deep sense of discouragement and hopelessness.
Not a great admission from someone who has walked in relationship with Jesus for over 40 years.
I guess most of all, I have been disappointed in myself. I should have done better, I should have said this, taught that, I should be stronger, braver, more ready.
Anyway, I was doing some reading/studying the other day, and I read these verses in Exodus 3:10-12:
Therefore, come now, and I will send you to Pharaoh, so that you may bring My people, the sons of Israel, out of Egypt.” But Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt?” And He said, “Certainly I will be with you, and this shall be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God at this mountain.”
God had a big job for Moses, and Moses wasn’t feeling it. “Who am I that I should go…..” God wanted Moses to go down to Egypt and deliver the Israelites out of captivity. In fact, Moses had tried that 40 (there’s that number again) years previously, and it hadn’t gone well at all. Moses himself had been in exile for 40 years because of it. He went on with life, married, had kids, raised animals…. I think he too shifted his focus to just trying to live life.
But, long story short, he went. God promised to be with him, and he accomplished what he was called to do, or rather God accomplished what He wanted to do, through Moses. There’s a difference….
Note the promise at the end…
“Certainly I will be with you, and this shall be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God at this mountain.”(Note that the sign would come AFTER the mission was accomplished)
Fast forward…. God performed miracles. He gave warnings to Pharaoh, sent numerous plagues, each one more serious and damaging than the last, until finally Pharaoh relented and let the Israelites go. Well, in reality, he was begging them to leave and giving them everything they could take, by the time it was all over.
But then Pharaoh had a change of heart after they left, and set out in hot pursuit. Moses was moving a whole race of people in the desert and the Egyptians were gaining ground fast, until finally the Israelites ended up standing on the shores of the Red Sea with nowhere to go. Suddenly, before their very eyes, the sea began to part and the Bible says they walked through the sea on dry ground and then the sea swallowed up Pharaoh and his army. Pretty cool, eh. Like really……can you imagine????
They came up on the opposite shores of the Red Sea, and looked back to see the enemy who threatened to destroy then, drowned, utterly demolished, by the waters of the sea. They marvelled at all that God had done to gain their freedom from the years and years of slavery, and they worshipped!! They recounted the great and mighty deeds, they praised like never before and life was good!!!!
When they were done, they picked up their stuff, loaded the animals and moved on. I can imagine the excitement and awe. The unbridled joy and first real taste of freedom; the retelling over and over as they repeated all they had witnessed and all that they hoped for, it must have been thrilling……..until verse 22 of Exodus 15:
Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea, and they went out into the wilderness Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness and found no water. When they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter; therefore it was named Marah. So the people grumbled at Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?” Then he cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree; and he threw it into the waters, and the waters became sweet.
Three days. THREE days, guys!!! Three days and they were grumbling about water. In three days they had lost sight of the astounding feats that God had performed in order to gain their freedom and they thought water was going to be too big of a problem!
I had a lot of take aways from this story. One being Moses’ feelings of inadequacy. I’m sure he spent those 40 years on the backside of nowhere, feeling like a failure, wondering if he had missed his call, wondering if he ever really was called in the first place!! I mean surely, he must have heard wrong, or it must have been all in his head and not God at all. He had tried to defend the jewish slaves and ended up running to save his own life! Then forty years later, defeated and worn, NOW God wants to execute the plan?????
Second, the mountain. See I have the benefit of reading the whole story, and I know that one day they did worship at that mountain just like God had promised. And it was a sign, proof that God was with Moses and He did do exactly as He said!
And third, how very little time it took to lose sight and forget the wonders and ways that God had moved on their behalf.
You see, we’ve spent almost forty years with this dream, this vision of what we felt we were called to, and it gets old. You lose hope, you lose sight, and you settle for survival. Then forty years down the road, when you feel like you’re going under for the last time, God, partly through current cicumstances, starts stirring up the vision…..and my response: “Are you serious!! Who am I?” I have nothing! I am nothing! I got nothing!!”
And then I’m reminded…..reminded of the experiences, interventions, and precious moments in His presence, over the past 40+ years, and I realize that it’s not about me at all. It’s about Him. He says that in our weakness, HE shows up strong!
“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me?”Jeremiah 32:27
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,Ephesians 3:20
Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.2 Corinthians 1:9
Or, like He said to Moses,
“Certainly, I will be with you….”
From where I sit, there are still a lot of missing pieces, a lot of things that would have to come together, and honestly, in the natural, I just can’t see how He could pull it all off! Forty years ago, maybe……but today, not so much.
But I believe that one day we will worship at that ‘mountain’ and be blown away by how it all came about.