Sunday, August 31, 2008

Who Am I?

Moses was tending sheep when he saw a bush on fire, but not burning up (see Exodus 3). Having caught his attention, God spoke to Moses: "I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land...." This must have sounded wonderful to Moses; they had suffered so much, and waited so long! Then God continues, "So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt."

Eh? "I have come down to rescue them... so now, you go." Have you ever had a moment like that? You pray and wait and hope for God to take action, and finally sense God's concern, but it is coupled with a command:

  • Perhaps you pray for a homeless person who appears hungry as you walk by, and sense God's gentle nudge: Yes, I hear your prayer, and I do care about the suffering you see. So I am sending you to feed him.
  • Perhaps you pray for a single parent who is struggling to balance work and family, and sense God's gentle nudge: Yes, I hear your prayer, and I do care about the struggles you see. So I am sending you to help that parent in their home for a few hours.
  • Perhaps you pray for someone who is grieving the loss of a loved one, and sense God's gentle nudge: Yes, I hear your prayer, and I do care about this person's intense sense of loss. So I am sending you to listen and share this grief.
  • Perhaps you pray for a friend whose young daughter is in the hospital with a serious illness, and sense God's gentle nudge: Yes, I hear your prayer, and I do care about the worries of this family. So I am sending you to sit awhile with the daughter and her mom in the hospital.

And your response might be very much like that of Moses: "Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?" Ken Davis notes that what God did NOT say is quite instructive. God did not say "Don't worry, I gave you all the skills at birth to prepare you for this," or even "Don't worry, I'll teach you everything you'll need before you get there." Actually, God's answer was more like "You're right. You're not perfectly sufficient for this!" But instead of promising new abilities, God promised something far, far better: "I will be with you." And that is enough.

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