One of my favorite ways to make scripture come alive is to put myself in someone’s place so I can try to imagine what they were feeling and experiencing.
In Exodus 3, the Lord says He has seen the suffering of His people and that He is sending Moses to Pharaoh to bring the Israelites out of Egypt. All that Moses say in return is, “Who am I that I should go?” followed by, “But what if they ask who sent me?”
Scripture doesn’t go into a lot of detail about what Moses was thinking; we only know that he doubted his ability to do what has been asked of him. However, when I put myself in his place, here’s what I’m thinking:
- I am 80 years old, living a peaceful life.
- I’m not eloquent, yet I’m being asked to speak on behalf of God.
- I am being sent to the place I grew up, to liberate the people I saw as slaves.
- I am coming as an enemy against the people who raised and educated me.
But there’s so much more here because God didn’t share every single detail with Moses when He called him to go.
Can you imagine the faith Moses would have needed to continue trusting in God’s plan, even as it changed from how Moses might have seen it going? When God told him He was going to perform wonders among the Egyptians, do you think Moses’ first thought was blood, frogs, lice, flies, pestilence, boils, hail, locusts, darkness, and the killing of their firstborns? Scripture tells us that Moses was highly regarded in Egypt, but it doesn’t tell us how he felt about calling down plagues on people he might have known. It doesn’t tell us how he felt about the wailing that echoed through Egypt as children were struck down.
In the animated movie Prince of Egypt, Moses says to Pharaoh, “This was my home – all this pain and devastation, how it tortures me inside…”
Moses didn’t know the end of the story. The only thing he could see in front of him was the pain of the Egyptians and the doubt of the Israelites. In fact, he never even got to enter the Promised Land.
How much faith would it take for you to go through heartbreak, without ever seeing how the story ends, and still trust that God is going to use it for His glory?
God’s plans rarely unfold the way we think they are going to, but we have to trust Him in the valleys if we want to join Him on the mountains. Sometimes it’s for our own benefit that God gives us pieces at a time rather than the whole picture at once. Would Moses have taken the first step if he could have seen the end? Would he have even returned to Egypt if he had known what was coming: the plagues, the disobedience, the unbelief, the rebellions? God had promised victory, but I imagine that it did not come the way Moses had envisioned.
Moses couldn’t see the end from the beginning, but He trusted God from the beginning to the end. Hebrews 11 (often called the “Hall of Faith” or “Heroes of Faith”) remembers Moses this way:
“It was by faith that Moses, when he grew up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to share the oppression of God’s people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin. He thought it was better to suffer for the sake of Christ than to own the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking ahead to his great reward. It was by faith that Moses left the land of Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger. He kept right on going because he kept his eyes on the one who is invisible. It was by faith that Moses commanded the people of Israel to keep the Passover and to sprinkle blood on the doorposts so that the angel of death would not kill their firstborn sons. It was by faith that the people of Israel went right through the Red Sea as though they were on dry ground. But when the Egyptians tried to follow, they were all drowned.” – Hebrews 11:24-29
When we choose to step out in faith, we have to trust that He knows the final outcome before we take that first step, remember that our faith is never bigger than our God, and keep moving forward, even if things don’t look the way we thought they would.