In moments of frustration, my first response is oftentimes to question God. Then again, maybe it's not "questioning" so much as it is "whining."
"God, why me? Why now?"
"I already have so much on my plate. Why would you add yet another thing?"
"Lord, look at me! I obeyed and yet I still failed! What's going on?!"
I had one of those pity-party sessions recently as I was trying to fall asleep one night. Fear lead to frustration, which then led to complaining. I was particularly stressed about a certain situation, and that--coupled with several days of missed quiet times--was enough to get me started.
"Lord, this thing you've asked of me isn't even a passion of mine! I'm not even very good at it, and every time I try, I fail or do it with the fear of failing. The church already has so many people better suited for this task. Why do you insist on using me?"
I'm so glad I'm not God. It amazes me how He can be so gentle in rebuking me in times like these. I could hear his response to my string of complaints almost as clear as day, "What about Moses?"
Moses. What about him? Instantly I thought about the chapter in the Bible that deals with the burning bush. Moses had so many excuses and complaints against God. Yet the Lord correctly Him both gently and forcefully at the same time. As if that wasn't enough, He raised him up to become one of the greatest leaders in Israel's history.
Returning to my story, I woke up the next day in a different mindset. Instead of working through my usual Bible Study in 2 Samuel, I turned to Exodus. Immediately, a couple of things jumped out at me in a way they hadn't before.
Starting with Chapter 2, I was reminded about how God's hand was evident in Moses' life early on. His life was carefully preserved...first at home, then on the river, and again with his adoption as Pharoah's grandson. The Lord was clearly protecting him in a time where little Hebrew boys were most at risk!
I began to wonder how this concept translated into my life. The way I now see it, God has been involved in my existence from the start. (Psalm 139 is good proof of this.) He was working to draw me to Himself from the beginning, and He has arranged the circumstances to bring me to where I am now. I don't need to doubt His plan or timing.
I wrote down a second observation after reading verses 11 through 15 where it talks about the Egyptian beating the Hebrew slave. The Lord had given Moses a heart that was stirred by injustice. Not only that, but his heart was prompted to act against that injustice. Now, don't get me wrong, murder was not the appropriate response to the situation Moses was in. I think murder is very rarely, if ever, an appropriate response to anything. I simply mean to point out that God gave Moses a specific quality that would be necessary for leading his people to freedom.
Moving on, then, in Chapter 3 the burning bush enters. This is one of my favorite scenes from the life of Moses, simply because it reminds me of myself. His excuses are so closely tied to mine...
#1) "Who am I that I should do this great thing?" (Verse 11...in my own words)
#2) "What if they don't believe me?" (Verse 4:1)
#3) "God, I'm not good in front of people! I am slow of speech and tongue!" (Verse 10)
#4) And finally, in verse 13, I can almost hear the fear and desperation in Moses' voice, "O Lord, send someone else!"
Again I am amazed at our God's response to each of these protests. After the first excuse, He told Moses who He was. He exposed him to the essence of I AM. Then, later on after the second protest, He showed Moses how He would empower him.
God's response to the third is my favorite. He replies, "Who gave you your mouth?" How many times has He said the same thing to me? "Ellie, who gave you your hands? Who gave you your talents? I know what I'm doing! Just trust me, dear one."
Moses' fourth excuse is probably the boldest of them all. The Bible says that because of it the Lord's anger burned against him. Yet, while He could have very well smited the man then and there, He simply told him not to worry. He would provide.
With all this in mind, one prominent thing I took away from my quiet time was the reminder that the Lord is Jehovah Jireh. He will provide for my every need (Phillipians 4: 19.) Too many times, I think this phrase only means material needs, but Jesus is not limited to just that! He has and will continue to give me the resources and abilities I need to complete the tasks He has called me to do. I'm not guaranteed an easy or problem-free ride. God himself told Moses to expect difficulties (Exodus 4:19.) However, I can embrace those problems in God's strength. He promises to never leave me nor forsake me. Who am I to complain?