There have been times in my life when I have felt totally incapable of doing something that I needed to do. I remember one such time very clearly.
I worked as an Evaluation Team Leader for a mid- sized school system in a city outside of Boston. One time I was called upon to hold a controversial meeting that involved the usual multi-discipline team, but also included the Director of the Special Education, the school district’s attorney, the parents’ attorney, the principal of our school, and DCF officials. Needless to say, it was an intimidating situation. I even asked the director to chair the meeting in my place, but she declined. I was anxious and overwhelmed. I felt that I was not up to the task.
Did you ever feel that way, like you couldn’t do a something you were expected to do or needed to do, or that you didn’t want to do because it was going to require too much of you? I believe God understands my thinking and feeling in times like this and is ready to help, whether it be presiding over a meeting with intimidating or difficult people, or overcoming a seemingly impossible situation in your life.
God Understands Our Insecurities and Fears
Sometimes I think the God who creates and sustains all life would not care about my fears and insecurities. I believe the Word of God reveals to us truths about God’s nature and heart for us that tells us He does care. In Exodus 3 and 4, we read of an encounter between God and Moses that exhibits God’s understanding of our insecurities and fears. In times of fear and anxiety I need to recall and trust these truths.
God calls Moses to go speak to the pharaoh and tell him to let all the Israelites go out from Egypt. This is a monumental request, since the Israelites were Egypt’s major work force. Forty years previous Moses was a prince in the court of pharaoh, but for the last forty years he had been tending sheep in the wilderness. So, it is not too hard to understand when Moses tries to refuse the assignment.
In the interchange between Moses and God we see Moses’ fear, Moses’ focus on his own ability, and in contrast we see God’s continuous understanding and building into Moses.
God Patiently Works to Establish Trust
In Exodus 3:11 Moses responds to God’s assignment with: “Who am I, that I should go to the pharaoh?”
God does not belittle Moses for his lack of faith. He does not give up on Moses. Rather, God works tenderly and logically with Moses throughout the whole encounter. God understands his feelings of inadequacy and insecurity. God builds faith in Moses and reassures Moses that He will go with him and support him (v.12).
In Ex. 3:13-15, Moses counters with another obstacle to the assignment. He states that the people of Israel won’t accept him or believe him. They will demand his credentials by saying “What is God’s name?” In other words if “our” God sent you then you should know His name.
So God tells Moses His name which defines God and His authority. God said, “I AM who I AM . . . tell them I AM has sent you.” Gently, God instructs Moses to remind the Israelites that the “God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob” sent him. He buoys up Moses’ credentials with a connection to the patriarchs of Israel.
Moses continues to express imaginations of purported resistance from the Israelites towards him. Again, with great patience God persuades Moses by giving him powerful signs to perform that prove he was sent by God, (the staff turning to a snake, his hand turning leprous and then being cured, and the water turning into blood – Ex.4:4-9).
One would think Moses would be all set now, but even after all this, Moses voices yet another fear. He states that he is not an eloquent speaker, and he will be unable to speak to the pharaoh effectively. Patiently, God reminds Moses that He, God that had made his mouth and He can give Moses the words to say (Ex. 4:12).
However, Moses continues pleads to be relieved of this commission. While verse 14 states that God was angry, He continued to provide Moses with the support he needed. God gives Moses a partner, his brother Aaron, to help him speak to the pharaoh.
God is the Same Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
The God who interacted with Moses is the same God we relate to today. We need to understand that God “gets it,” He understands our fears and insecurities, and He is not repulsed. He responds with a long-suffering and steadfast love towards us. “But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious; slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” Ps. 86:15
As God worked with Moses, He will work with me and you to bring me to where I need to be, and support me along the way. When I am challenged in life, overwhelmed, fearful, and maybe even despaired, I will remember this interaction between God and Moses, take heart, and trust a loving compassionate God.
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” Psalm 32:8
“Jesus understands every weakness of ours, because he was tempted in every way that we are. But he did not sin! So whenever we are in need, we should come bravely before the throne of our merciful God. There we will be treated with undeserved kindness, and we will find help.” Hebrews 4:15-16 (CEV)