So I have a new favorite verse. Exodus 4:13. You probably won’t find it on a Dayspring greeting card anytime soon, but I find it encouraging. One thing I love about the Bible is that it doesn’t refrain from showing humanity in all of our… well… human-ness. No sugar-coating here.
When talking to her about our serious doubts and our desire for God to just make his plan crystal-clear (i.e. an email outlining the next 5 years would be nice), my friend Kineta pointed me to Exodus chapters 3 & 4 where Moses encounters God at the burning bush and oh-so-graciously handles God’s request for him to go and do something difficult with not one, but five, excuses and reasons why he cannot.
Let’s look at those. They all seem pretty legit to me, but that’s probably because I use them frequently myself.
Moses’ Reasons Why God Must Be Wrong
1) I’m not important enough to go. God, this task clearly requires someone a bit more prepared. (3:11)
2) What if they want to know who sent me? There is a high probability that they’ll think I’m crazy when I tell them it was you, God. (3:13)
3) What if they don’t believe me? After all, as I mentioned before, they’ll think it is crazy if I tell them it was you. (4:1)
4) This job seems like it would involve a lot of talking and convincing, and that isn’t really a skill I have. You’d probably be better off to choose someone who is better at it. (4:10)
5) His last-ditch effort: Lord, I just don’t want to do this. Please send someone else. (4:13)
I think reason #5 was probably the core of all his other reasons. In our humanity, we can often “spiritualize” our lack of desire and willingness, so reasons 1-4 have a lot of false humility, some fear, and questions about preparedness, but it probably boils down to reason 5. Moses just didn’t want to go. Our ability to spiritualize these things doesn’t fool God, but we can fool ourselves, which leads to a lot of confusion.
And that’s where we find ourselves. Confused and doubting. Perhaps the main reason we wrestle with this decision so much is that we just don’t want to do it on many days. I also love how in 3:12, after Moses asks for a sign, God basically tells him after you do this, then you’ll worship me on this mountain. God’s sign is only coming after Moses’ obedience.
To be painfully honest, that’s not usually what I’m looking for when I’m asking for a sign… and I’d be dishonest if I didn’t admit that I’m still holding out for some really obvious pre-obedience sign… but, it is encouraging to be reminded that an absence of a burning bush doesn’t mean that one has strayed from the will of God. (Thanks to my friend Kineta for pointing this out to me — it was the original reason she told me to read these chapters.)
And, so we resist the urge to change our circumstances just because they are uncomfortable. And we continue to press forward. And, I hope that you do the same in whatever faith journey you are on.
Thank you, blogging world friends, for all the encouraging comments you left for us and emails you sent after that last post! They really did bless us. We’re still not “through this” yet, but we are seeking with all our hearts to be faithful.