I love the story of the Exodus. It’s absolutely fantastic. One of my favorite verses of all time can be found in Exodus. Every time I work through it, God teaches me something new about himself through it. Just when I think I’ve understood this story from every angle, something new shines through. So it’s unsurprising that in a recent read through a new lesson made itself known.
By the time of the burning bush, Moses’ life is a quiet, innocuous existence. It’s been decades since he fled Egypt and seemingly left the harsh world of his people behind him. In many ways, he’s grown comfortable and soft. The life of a shepherd might not have been glamorous but it also wasn’t particularly dangerous either.
And God responds to Moses in those verses I love so much: “Then the Lord asked Moses, “Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.” (Exodus 4:11-12)
You would think that would be enough to get anyone’s attention and fire them up, but Moses was apparently uniquely skilled at freaking out because he keeps arguing with God. He once again begs God to send anyone else. Unsurprisingly, God is not happy with this. In fact, Exodus tells us that God was outright angry with Moses at this. By our own human standards, God would be completely justified in telling Moses he’s had it with him and leaving him to his aimless life in the wilderness.
But God responds differently when he responds a couple verses later: “Then the Lord became angry with Moses. “All right,” he said. “What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he speaks well. And look! He is on his way to meet you now. He will be delighted to see you. Talk to him, and put the words in his mouth. I will be with both of you as you speak, and I will instruct you both in what to do.” (Exodus 4:14-15)
True, God doesn’t hold back and does get angry at Moses, but he keeps working with him. Despite all his shortcomings, panicking, worry, and outright complaining, Moses still has a place in the story.
Yes, we royally mess up sometimes. Yes, we fail miserably or even fail to start. It is guaranteed. You are absolutely going to mess up in disappointing ways that hurt. And yet God doesn’t kick us to the curb. He loves us too much to do that.
Our shortcomings do not remove us from God’s love.
You are not disqualified or thrown aside when you get it absolutely wrong. You are not rejected or put in a corner. Yes, there are consequences. And yes, those consequences will hurt. But God is bigger than our consequences.
You are simply not strong enough or powerful enough to ruin God’s plan. Your missteps are not even a surprise to him. Long before he called you to his purpose he intimately knew every single mistake you would make. He saw every stumble, every failure, and every moment of weakness, and like Moses he still chooses you.
The only possible way for you to not have a place in God’s story is to choose to reject him yourself. He is not doing that to you. You are not out when you fall short. God’s story is bigger than that. So live as though that were true, because it is. Dust yourself off from your failures, come to God, and try again. He still has a place for you and always will.
Let’s find some joy,