Clueless

Clueless: having no knowledge, understanding, or ability. Know anyone like that? I must admit that there are several things that I don’t have knowledge of or ability in. For example, gardening. I’m no good at it. My abilities are poor in this area. I have no problem admitting that I am deficient. But I don’t think I’d like to be called clueless. There’s a difference with not having an ability and being called clueless. Clueless is a derogatory term. It says way more than, “this fellow doesn’t seem to possess the clue.”

Dear-God-clueless-peopleClueless. It’s what you mutter under your breath about people who cut you off in traffic. It’s what you say about people who paint their houses hot pink. It’s the word that comes to mind for the customer service technician who continues to ask you the same question over and over again. “Yes, I’m sure it’s plugged in!” “No I couldn’t fill out your web form – I’m calling because my internet ISN’T working!”  Clueless.

For some reason, Moses seemed to think that God was clueless. “God, your plan isn’t working! Don’t you know how bad we’ve got it right now?” To which God responded: “You can be sure that I have heard the groans of the people of Israel, who are now slaves to the Egyptians. And I am well aware of my covenant with them.” (Exodus 6:5)

God wasn’t clueless. He knew the plight of His people. He heard their cries for help. He hadn’t forgotten His covenant with them (even though they “forgot” to hold up their end of it several times). He was well aware of their need and well aware of His promise. No, God wasn’t clueless by any stretch of the imagination. And you know what…

God still isn’t clueless. He hasn’t forgotten about you. He hasn’t been too busy to hear your prayers. He is well aware of what is on your heart. My question is this: are you well aware of what is on His? Because I think we tend to be the clueless ones. But God isn’t clueless. In fact, far from it. So if you feel like He isn’t seeing you, isn’t hearing you, isn’t paying attention – take heart today. Don’t give up. God loves you and He has a plan. He is well aware. He is NOT clueless!

This isn’t working out

Confession: I’m a man who likes a plan. I read instruction manuals. I’m type A. I tend to be a perfectionist. Get the picture? Here’s another confession: things don’t always work out as planned. I’m learning to live with that… learning to make adjustments, to be patient, to accept less than perfection. I’m learning that things don’t always go the way I expected them to. And that’s okay. Because God has a lens that is way more wide-angle than mine.

God had a plan for Moses and the Israelites, too. He told Moses the plan. But when Moses went to Pharaoh, it didn’t go exactly like he thought it would. He was supposed to be really convincing and Pharaoh was going to listen to him. That’s not what happened; in fact, the opposite happened. Pharaoh decided to make life more miserable for the Israelites.

Exodus 5:22-23 Moses returned to the LORD and said, “Why, Lord, why have you brought trouble on this people? Is this why you sent me? Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble on this people, and you have not rescued your people at all.”

not as plannedYou call THIS a rescue, God?! I mean, you said if I went to Pharaoh it would work out. You said you were going to free the people. Some rescuer you are! Do you blame Moses? I don’t. This whole situation must have been confusing. Things weren’t making sense. The people he was trying to help were now mad at him. This isn’t working out.

Here’s the thing: even though it didn’t seem to be working out, God was still at work. He was about to put on a pretty epic show in the land of Egypt that would be undeniable. It would be clear that God was the one doing the rescuing, not Moses. It was going to be awesome, but it was going to be in His timing.

We tend to miss seeing what God is doing, too – especially when we have stuck in our head a particular way in which we think God should be working. We think He missed it, that He’s too late. He must not understand what’s at stake. How could He not know what’s going on? Maybe we are the one who don’t know what’s going on. Maybe we are looking at life through our microscopic lens rather than God’s wide-angle one. Because I guarantee you that He has a better perspective than we do.

So the next time you feel like this just isn’t working out, consider that in the big scheme of things, it just might be turn out okay in the end.

 

 

How not to respond to your calling

There are legends of the faith that we look up to. People like David, Esther, Paul, Gideon, Ruth, and Moses. Some were brave; others were bold. Some of them endured great hardship, while others reaped incredible blessing. And when we look at the end of their story, we celebrate their lives that were used greatly by God. But not everyone had the best start to walking out their calling… especially Moses.

Basically, God called Moses to do some cool stuff for Him, but Moses wasn’t so sure. He felt under-qualified. He was scared. So instead of taking God at His word, he argued. It’s not that he wasn’t sure if this was God’s voice. I mean if a bush on fire that isn’t burning up starts talking to you and says it is God, then you should listen and obey. Either that or drink more water and take a nap. But in this case, “listen and obey” was the correct answer.

Moses wanted to question everything, though. I wonder what kind of conversation the Trinity had about all that questioning? Did the Holy Spirit ask the Father, “Are you sure this is the right guy?” Did Jesus offer to just go take care of things Himself? Did The Father ask Jesus to hold Him back from killing this guy? I’m not sure exactly, although at one point in Exodus 4, it says that God was about to kill him. So that’s not good. But in the midst of all the arguing with God about his calling, the best part comes in Exodus 4:2-3. Check this out:

Then the LORD said to him, “What is that in your hand?”     

“A staff,” he replied.    

The LORD said, “Throw it on the ground.”

Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it.

scared manOkay, folks. HE RAN FROM IT. He ran from his staff that had temporarily become a snake. I imagine a high pitched squeal went along with his running. At which point God face-palmed.

Folks, Moses ran from that snake staff, but what he was really running from was his calling. He didn’t think he would have what it takes. He was certain God had knocked on the wrong guy’s door. Moses, running from a temporary snake was how he began his calling. Even though many years earlier, the calling of God was in his heart. Even though all along, he knew that God was calling him to greater things. When it came down to it, he panicked.

Later in life, Moses taught a class at the local seminary called: “How not to respond to your calling.” Okay, maybe he didn’t, but Exodus chapter 4 could serve as the curriculum. Here’s the thing: Moses was unable to see what God saw in him. He focused more on his shortcomings than God’s abilities. He worried about his potential effectiveness rather than God’s power to do the miraculous.

The calling of God isn’t dependent on our qualifications. It is not dependent on our readiness. What matters is the calling and the One who is doing the calling. So why not trust Him? Why not stand in awe that He would choose imperfect you to do something great for eternity!? Don’t run from the staff snake and squeal like a little girl. Pick up the mantle that God has for you and begin to walk in it!

 

The proof comes later

proofI am a fan of guaranteed things. Are you with me on this? I’m talking about no risk, all reward stuff. I would jump out of an airplane if there was a 100% guarantee that the parachute will open. I know the percentage is high, but it’s not 100. Maybe I’d step out more in faith if I knew it was going to work out. But that’s not really faith at all, is it? That’s just doing something that you know will produce the desired results. The truth is: most often, the proof comes later.

Moses was placed in a situation I find myself in often. It’s a situation in which he was hoping God would give him an up-front guarantee. Here’s how it went down…

Moses sees a bush on fire, yet the bush isn’t burning up, it’s just burning. He checks it out and it starts talking to him. Except it isn’t the bush talking, it is God speaking from within the bush. And God in the bush tells him that he is being sent to get His people out of slavery in Egypt. That seems intimidating to Moses, because the last time he tried to rescue an Israelite slave, it didn’t go well.  Moses wavers and questions God’s good judgement in choosing him. Here’s God’s response:heresyoursign

Exodus 3:12  And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.”

Wait a minute! What kind of a guarantee is that? “After it’s all done, you will worship right here with the people.” Yes Moses, after you have stepped out of your comfort zone, put your life on the line, and lead ungrateful people through a sea with soldiers chasing you – then God will confirm that it was really Him who sent you.

I wonder if I would take God up on that offer. I wonder if I would be willing to take the step of faith and receive the confirmation later. The truth is, faith requires… um, faith. It requires trust. And it means that sometimes (often) you won’t be confident of the outcome. But you CAN be confident in the God who sent you.

The proof usually does come later. And even though I’d like some proof up front, I have found that the actual outcome is often far greater than I could have ever expected. That’s the beauty of living for God and taking Him at His word!

*What is God calling you today? Where are the scary places He is sending you that require faith?