This summer, I was fascinated with the story of Moses. Maybe I was fascinated because something that was once so familiar felt fresh, new. I read the pages of Exodus this time completely from the vantage point of Moses himself, pretending—to the best of my ability—that I didn’t know the rest of the story. I tried to imagine what it would be like for Moses to one day realize that he had been rescued as a baby. That his mom is not really his mom and his people—his family, those he would have lived with, eaten with, worshipped with—were slaves. Every day they are beaten, starved, and forced into hard labor while he lives in the palace. How, even though none of this is his fault, Moses must have felt guilty. He wanted so badly to be there with his people but he didn’t know how to go back in time, how to rejoin his family, how to enter into slavery. So, he decided to do something about the oppression he sees. He killed an Egyptian. Surprised that no applause erupted from his people, and now threatened by Pharaoh, Moses ran away. Moses resolved that he would forever be separated from his people and attempted to build a new life. And while he tried desperately to forget his past, God had not forgotten him!
Reading the account of God calling Moses in Exodus chapter 3 and 4, I shake my head in wonder. A smile slides across my face as I think about the creativity, power, majesty, mystery, and grace the God of Abraham possesses. How absolutely incredible it is that Moses gets to see it, hear it, and feel it firsthand. God has gotten his attention, calling Moses to follow Him. Seeing the affliction of His people, God intends to use Moses to rescue the Israelites from Pharaoh.
(If you haven’t read those chapters in a while, take some time to do so. It’s honestly such a great story, you’ll probably keep reading….just try pretending you don’t know the outcome!)
Throughout these verses, I adore how honest Moses is. Even though the bush is on fire but not drying up, even though God’s voice is clear and powerful yet loving and kind, even though God has answered every question and made Himself known as intimately as Moses’ human mind can comprehend, Moses keeps trying to get out of it. But what should I tell them? But what if they don’t believe me? But what if this sign isn’t enough to convince them? But what if I can’t do it?
And then Moses says, head down, defeat in every word, “Oh, my Lord, please send someone else.” (Exodus 4:13)
Pick someone else.
Have you ever said that to God? Have you ever asked to be disqualified from the race, determined that there was a better choice?
Perhaps Moses was afraid of the same things you and I are. Afraid of failure, afraid to expose our inadequacy, afraid to face uncertain circumstances, even afraid of total submission to the Lord.
Moses didn’t want to face any of these fears, so he asked God to pick someone else.
When God chooses us for a specific role, we tend to respond just like Moses. We first play along, asking God if He’s sure. Begging God to tell us what to do, what to say, how to respond. But still, we want to surrender to defeat before we even start the race. God, just pick someone else.
I know I’ve felt that way. If it was anyone else, I would encourage them to trust God, to give it a try, to step out in faith, and all of those other true, yet cliche things. Even now, I want to read these pages in Exodus and tell Moses that it’s going to be so worth it! That he’ll have victory and that he cannot even imagine what God is going to do in him and through him!
And you know what? The same is true for us. Whatever God is asking us to do, even it’s filled with scary uncertainty, threatens failure, or exposes our weakness, it will be so worth it! We will have victory! We cannot imagine what God will do in us and through us!
God knew everything He was going to ask Moses to do wasn’t about Moses. But God was determined to include him in this journey. He let Moses bring Aaron if that’s what it would take to convince him to come along. God had picked Moses. He wasn’t going to let him miss this!
God wants you and me to simply come along in this journey. It’s not about us proving ourselves. It’s not about us being good enough or qualified enough, strong enough or smart enough. It’s not about us completing the task or just doing the thing God asks us to do. It’s about accepting an invitation to come along in the journey. Because God has some pretty incredible things to show us. He longs to teach us more about Himself. And usually we can’t learn those truths unless we’re on our way—even when, or maybe especially when, the destination is unknown.
So the next time God invites you to follow Him into something difficult, instead of asking Him to pick someone else, take a breath and say, “Okay. Okay, God, I’ll go with you.” You might walk into the very thing you prayed would never happen, the most frightening, most exposing, most uncertain circumstance you could ever imagine. But you are not alone. The very God who invited you to come along is with you every step of the way. He picked you specifically for this journey, so you can believe it will be okay. In fact, He may be patiently waiting to perform a miracle right before your very eyes!