What to do When it all Goes Pear-Shaped

I wanted to write a post on this theme, but couldn’t find the words until I looked at the life of Moses. As a young adult in Egypt, Moses sees a Hebrew slave being mistreated and tries to help by taking things into his own hands. He ends up murdering an Egyptian and being forced to leave the country – not a great start, so he lives in Midian for a while, where he meets his wife, gets married and fathers two boys. That’s the background.

One day, when he’s looking after his father-in-law’s sheep, he meets with God in a very special way (maybe you’ve heard the famous story of the burning bush). God tells Moses that He’s seen the misery of His people and He’s going to rescue them, and Moses will be the one to do it. Moses of course has excuses. Perhaps he’s thinking of his past and the murder when he says: “I am not a great man”, but every excuse he can find, God has an answer for.

As he went with his brother Aaron to Pharaoh’s palace to ask to leave Egypt, Moses must have thought: “Finally! I’m doing what I always wanted – helping my people, and this time I’ve got God on my side. What can go wrong?”

But the Pharaoh had no regard for God. He accused the Israelites of laziness and increased their workload considerably. Not only did they blame Moses and Aaron, they actually said: “May the LORD punish you. You caused the king and his officers to hate us” (Exodus 5:21): Opposition from Pharaoh, opposition from his own people, and the temptation to doubt God.

Following God won’t always ensure that circumstances go our way, but it’s what we do when everything goes pear-shaped that counts. What Moses did was to pray and ask Him about the situation. “Why have You brought this trouble on Your people? Is this why You sent me here? I went to the king and said what You told me to say, but ever since that time he has made the people suffer. And You have done nothing to save them” (Exodus 5:22-23). God, I did everything You told me to do. What’s going on? And what happened after that? “Then the LORD said to Moses” … Letting God in allows Him to give us His take on things, and to strengthen us for the journey ahead.

Moses tells the Israelites about God’s promise to him, but in their discouragement, they refuse to listen and soon, Moses is discouraged right along-with them. “’Surely the king will not listen to me either. I am not a good speaker.’ But” (here it is again) “the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron” (Exodus 6:12-13).

I don’t know all the people reading this blog. I don’t know the situations you’re struggling with, but can I encourage you to let God in?

Are you a What or a Why?

There’s a verse in the Psalms I’ve loved for a long time.  “He made known His ways to Moses, His deeds to the people of Israel” (Psalm 103:7).  I like that God made a distinction between those who knew about Him, and the one who was a friend to Him.  To Israel He revealed the things He did, but Moses was given a deeper understanding of the heart behind those deeds.  As Christians, Jesus doesn’t call us servants anymore, but friends.  God’s ways are so different from ours, but no longer do we have to be outsiders – just observing the things He does; we can actually ask Him questions and get to know Him.  I think that’s amazing.

 

Are you an observer of what God does, or do you wonder about Him and want to know why He does it?  If you’d like to know God, you can do that by accepting that Jesus died on the cross in your place, taking the punishment for all you’ve done wrong, then God raised Him to life and took away the power of death.  Now Jesus stands in the gap between God and you, and you can talk to God because of what Jesus has done.

31 Days of Song: “To the Overcomers”

Amy from Moms’ Toolbox is making her way slowly through the book of Exodus at the moment, and guess what chapter we’re up to now?  The one about baby Moses, so I read it this morning.  Do you remember she encourages us to SOAP?  Well, these were my thoughts:

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Scriptures:  Exodus 2:10 – “The king’s daughter named him Moses, because she had pulled him out of the water”, 22 – “Moses named him Gershom, because Moses was a stranger in a land that was not his own”.

 

Observation:  Hebrew names have significance.

 

Application:  My name means princess and it’s lovely to be a daughter of the King.  Jesus has a new name to be kept between Him and us (Revelation 2:17), so that even if our names don’t have significance on earth, they will in heaven.  I always imagined this new name to be one that summarises who we are and how we as a person have overcome, because no one else could fully know that except us and the Lord.

 

Prayer:  Thank You that You care about the details of our lives, even our names.  I like the thought of You watching over us to give us a new name.  Help me to be faithful, so that I can have a new name that honours You.  Amen.

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There was a Michael Card song that seemed really appropriate after thinking about that verse from Revelation.  From his “Unveiled Hope” album, this is “To the Overcomers”.

31 Days of Song: “Hallelujah – Your Love is Amazing”

In the school assembly today, we told the kids about Moses, and the way the story was written picked up on something I’d never thought of before – how Miriam must have felt when she saw the Egyptian princess had found her baby brother.  All Hebrew baby boys were to be killed!  Miriam’s heart must have been in her mouth; she probably couldn’t bear to watch, but as the story said, God was watching.  The baby wasn’t killed because the princess took one look at his crying face and her heart melted.  That princess, whether she acknowledged it or not, was made in the image of God and His compassion shone through her as she took pity on baby Moses.

Much later, when Moses was eighty years old and trying to leave Egypt with his people, Pharaoh had several visits from him, but his heart didn’t melt.  Softening and hardening of heart – both orchestrated by God.  When things seem out-of-control, know that God has a special plan for your life and is watching over you.  His love is amazing.

Part of the Plan

Holley asked us to write this week about what brings us joy, particularly relating to our God-sized dream.  Of course, if they’re related to a God-sized dream, they’ll be Godly things – not things that contradict His Word.  I had one of the most joyful days on Monday, as I sat in a café for 2 hours, having lunch and talking with one of my most treasured friends.  Some of you reading this may think:  That brings happiness, not joy, but I’d argue the opposite.  You see, spending quality time with this friend twice in a month is something I could only have dreamed of a few years ago.  It’s precious, and I’m super-grateful to God for it.

Holley says if we look at the things that bring us most joy, that’s a clue to God’s call on our life.  God uses what we already have.  You see that with Moses in Exodus 2:11-17:  He had a passion to bring about justice, and he didn’t always get it right.  Look at when he killed that Egyptian, but nevertheless it was there.  As my pastor said, it was there as much when he couldn’t stand by and let those shepherds stop his future wife from watering her flocks, as when he went to Pharaoh and pleaded with him to let the Israelites go.  You see it with Peter too:  He basically had a big mouth!  One minute he’d be all-out for God, the next he’d be trying to side-track Jesus, but the Lord eventually used Peter’s words to save 3,000 people in a day.  And I see it in my own life:  I love singing, I love writing; I feel God’s called me to do both.

So if spending time with family and friends is what brings me joy, maybe people will always be part of God’s call on my life.  Maybe I’ll never be like one of those missionaries who travel to foreign nations on their own to spread the gospel, and maybe that’s ok, because it’s not how God made me.

What things bring you joy?  Do you see them as part of God’s plan for your life?