At the beginning of this blogging life, I promised that some of these blog posts would be thought out, well written, profesh blog posts, while some would be a way of me processing, and getting some of the stuff in my head out of my brain, and into the world.
Today, friends, you get the latter. But it was something that I felt I needed to write – I don’t know if you feel tired, unacceptable, incapable of the things that God has put in front of you; I don’t know if your brain ever clouds up and you can’t even begin to work out what is wrong, or why you can’t get on with it. But if you do, this one’s for you.
Recently, something from the story of Moses stuck out to me:
“Moses said to the Lord, “You have been telling me “lead these people,” but you have not let me know who you will send with me. You have said “I know you by name and you have found favour with me” – if you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so that I may know you and continue to find favour with you. Remember that this nation is your people.
The Lord replied, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest”. Then Moses said to Him, “if your presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and your people, unless you go with us?” – Exodus 33:12-16
There is something in the strop that Moses had with God which really resonated with me, particularly in the place that my head has been in recently. He stands in front of God, and he says: You have been telling me to do all this, to step out, but you have not told me how I’m going to do it, who is going to do it with me, or what this is actually going to look like. I’m stepping out when I don’t know the full picture, and all I can think of is how I can’t do it – how it is too hard, how I don’t have anyone to do it with me, how there are times when I can’t convince myself that I’m the right one for the job.
I bet that Moses didn’t feel like he was the right man for the job, when he was having this discussion with God; but Moses not feeling like he was the man for the job didn’t change the fact that he was.
If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways. I read that as a challenge – as a need to hear something from God. It’s a “I need to know that you are really pleased with me, and that you have really picked me out to do this – I need you to equip me for this, because there’s no way that I can do this without you”. How many of us have been in that place?
But while Moses was panicking, Moses missed something of the access that he had with God. Moses would go into the tent of meeting – where God was – and a pillar of smoke would appear outside of the tent. He had the presence of the Lord, which nobody else had, and the Lord would speak to him face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Everyone else could only look on from the entrance of their tents – and yet while he was in that place, he was moaning at God about how he felt abandoned. Ironic.
If I put this cloud in my mind into words, it is this: I do not always feel able to do what I know God has called me to do – You have told me to do this, but you have not told me how, or what, or with whom. And I’m tired. Everything in me is telling me that I can’t do it. I feel abandoned. I feel confused.
All of these things, I see in Moses, in the conversation that he was having with God. And here is what God says to Moses, in that place: My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.
Moses was tired, God knew that – and yet it didn’t make him unacceptable, or disqualify him from the things that God had put inside of him. God promised to give him rest, while walking with him, in the things that Moses was going to do for God.
Here it is:
Tiredness is not a disqualifying factor.
Loneliness is not a disqualifying factor.
Talking to God about the place that you are in, is not a disqualifying factor.
I have a friend who always calls me brave for stepping out and doing what I’m doing, and I haven’t always been able to take it. “I don’t feel brave,” I’d think. “I feel like I’m in it alone, like I can’t do anything. Like I’m failing at it all. Like I’m too tired to even think about any of that”.
If that is you – if that is where your head goes to, know that you are not alone, friend. And know that that is not the truth.
When Moses was in that place, this is what he said to the Lord: If you don’t go with me, I’m not going anywhere.
Let’s let our stubbornness push us further into God, and allow Him to sweep us up and take us with Him.