Tuesday, September 13, 2011

This Doesn't Look Like I Thought it Would...

There is nothing quite like getting a glimpse of what God is doing, especially when you can see what your role is. When God calls us, the excitement is fresh, and new. We see just a glimpse of what He has for us and are inspired and elated.  When we are caught up in the presence of God, it is no stretch of the imagination for us to believe that man lives – not on bread – but on the very Word of God.

Imagine Moses, spending forty days on the mountain of God, talking with Him “as a man talks with his friend,” and watching the finger of God carve out His laws onto stone tablets.  It is too amazing for the mind to really grasp!

Imagine, then, how startling it must have been for Moses to come down from the mountain, only to see the very people he was called to lead prostituting themselves before an idol.  Not only that, but his brother – the person God gave him as his mouthpiece – lied to him about the whole thing!  After he had spent so much time on the mountain learning how to lead them – and learning from the very God who led them out of captivity – he sees the most appalling thing anyone in his position could see: People being exactly what they are, human and sinful to the core.

We can empathize with Moses when his gut (and completely fleshly) reaction is exactly as ours would be. He throws the tablets in a rage and shatters them. How could these people act so contrary to what God had just shown him?  But, as I’ve already said, his gut-reaction was wrong (and based totally on his anger at the people). When dealing with the things of the Lord, we cannot allow momentary feelings – even entirely justified ones – to distract us from the vision.

The thing about God’s plan for us is this: It really is not about us.  Not only that, but it generally involves others. Other humans.  Other sinful people, still trying to realize God’s plan in their own lives. We make mistakes, and we wrestle with our own flesh, trying to get what we want at the very same time that we are trying to crucify our flesh and give God what He wants.  In all of our learning to surrender and figuring out what it means to walk out the vision, our lives affect each other.  In Moses’ case, the people thought surely – being gone 40 days – Moses must have died; they did not know what to do without him. They panicked, and did what came naturally to them: they sinned. Big time.  Moses saw the faithlessness of these people God had just redeemed, and was so discouraged and angry he gave up (even if but for a moment)!  Don’t think that his hurling the tablets to the ground was anything other than giving up.  God had taken him to the mountain top and given His own Word to Moses, but when Moses got angry the first thing He did was throw the written Word of God on the ground! 

However, Moses had an advantage on us: He knew he was going down to confront the people in sin already, and so after he expressed his anger he rallied the people (not without separating the wheat from the chaff, so to speak). And then Moses reminded God of everything He’d said to Moses, and clung to what God promised.

So what do we do when our situation does not look like we expected? What do we do when doors close, people fail us, or we fail ourselves?

“Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs all this. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).”
When we find ourselves in such a place that we question either God’s plan, words to us that God has confirmed through the body around us, or who we are in Christ; we need to cling to what we know, even if it is what we do not see.  Go back. Remind yourself of those words, and speak them aloud.  Pray them into existence even if we feel like we don’t even want them to be true anymore. Pray for any people who may have offended you: that God would heal your heart and that He will enable you to forgive; as well as for them to be restored to God’s plan for their life. Pray for the circumstances to come into alignment with God’s Word. Pray that God would strengthen your faith (Lord, I do believe, help my unbelief!). Pray, pray, pray, pray, pray. And remind yourself of who God is, of His promises (both in Scripture in general and to you specifically).  And take every doubting, accusing, or despairing thought captive to obedience to Jesus Christ.

Some Scriptures to meditate on this week:

2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Hebrews 11:1-2, 13-16
2 Corinthians 10:3-5
Mark 9:14-29
Exodus 32:1-35

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