This is a dangerous little word for someone like me. A champion at delaying, putting off, filing until later, waiting for the right moment. (Not a lucrative skill, sadly). But it has been a dangerous word for me because I moved some time ago from the armchair faith of general principles about being nice and honest and helpful, drawn from the cosy stories Christian children are raised on, to a somewhat more immediate and messy version, which involves more, er, involvement. What I mean is, it’s not so much a matter of what God did then, so much as what He’s currently doing. Not so much what those distant Bible folks in their long robes and sandals were getting up to, but what He’s asking me to do, now. It’s the kind of faith that sometimes makes me afraid to open my Bible. What’s He going to say to me? Ask me to do?
Moses is a fairly famous Bible man. He’s the one who led the enslaved people of Israel out of Egypt after some spectacular intervention by God in the form of plague, turning the nile to blood, sending swarms of locusts and frogs, inflicting boils on the Egyptians, and (I know I’ve missed a few but you get the idea) finally the death of the firstborn including that of Pharoah himself. Like I said, spectacular. God recruited Moses in the middle of the desert from a burning bush. He tells Moses that He has heard the cries of the people under oppression and He’s going to sort it out. ‘Now, go…’ he says to Moses, ‘..for I am sending you to Pharoah to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.’ Er, hold on, says Moses, not unreasonably. Me?
Yes this is a story which predates the modern era by several thousand years. How is it relevant to me? Or you? Well, maybe it isn’t to you, but it resonates with me and millions of others who like me have experienced a very personal call to get up and do something that seems impossible. Or just easier for God to do without me. The impossible may not be leading an oppressed community out of slavery, it may be simply speaking up instead of being silent, setting a situation right, taking the lead or even making room for someone else to shine. Quite often, what God does when He speaks is to remind me of who He is; the aspect of His nature that I need to remember for the situation I’m in or the task I’m facing. The point is, God speaks now. And each time I listen, I grow. It is the weird paradox of God’s eternal forever nature that He is unchanging but not monotonous. My life in God is unpredictable, exciting, and occasionally terrifying but never boring.