I grew up as the kid who answered, “Famous,” when asked the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I also aspired to be a librarian, which is vastly different, but that’s for another day. The point was, I wanted purpose. I wanted to be living, walking, and breathing for a reason, and I desperately wanted to know that reason. Smack dab in the middle of my siblings, I struggled with the concept of purpose. My older brother was a brilliant musician, and everything seemed to come easily to him. My sisters, on the other hand, were multi-talented and fearless—a combination that intermingled in a beautiful mixture of courage and confidence.
I, on the other hand, ran in a tangled in a web of gregarious perfectionism, and constantly felt pulled in every direction. As a result, I believed that I was the epitome of everything I feared: untalented, and therefore, purposeless. I fell fast as a teenager, making poor choices that led to a dark path of self-doubt and lies. If on the off chance I actually did have a purpose before, I certainly didn’t believe I did now with a history riddled with mistakes. At the ripe old age of 17, I declared myself too far gone to achieve anything worth meaning in my life. It was too late, and my time on earth was wasted because I was too far gone. There was no way I had a purpose that was worth any value. If I didn’t know what it was then, how would I ever find out?
Fast forward 7 years.
I had worked hard to reclaim my daughter-ship in Christ (that’s an oxymoron of a sentence if you ever heard on, amiright?!). Christ had re-entered my life with a broom and dustpan and had cleaned the corridors of my heart. He had breathed new life into dim hallways and led me into brightly lit rooms. I learned and truly believed, that I had a purpose in Him, and I never wanted to give that away again. But, I certainly wasn’t qualified. For goodness sake, I was only 24. While I watched my peers find their dream directions, I was stuck. And a type A personality without a plan is disheartening, at best. I wanted to take the reins, but I flailed when I carried them.
Maybe all of that is why the story of Moses resonates so deeply with me. Moses grew up as a stranger, in a strange land, in a very strange position. I imagine myself as Moses. Grandson to the man who had wanted him dead, he grew up in luxury, wondering why. Knowing his people (the Hebrews) were badly mistreated by Moses’ own servants. I imagine the guilt, the wondering, and the pleading that Moses must have carried. Why me? Why me? Why me? must have run through his head over and over again. One day, “he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his people” (Exodus 2:11b). And so, he decided to forge his own path by killing the Egyptian. As I picture the scene, I wonder if Moses thought that maybe THIS was his purpose: to liberate his true people from his adopted people. After all, how could it not be? Moses had the means to bring justice. So he took matters into his own hands, and those hands ended up covered in blood. Dang, he really blew it, didn’t he?
The beauty of Christ is that he can wash away every stain, no matter how blood-soaked it is. Moses was exiled from his land for YEARS. Again, I envision him believing that his true purpose has been ruined by his mistakes. I wonder if he whispered to God in the night, asking if he could still be used. Questioning if he was still known. I’m no biblical scholar, and I don’t trust Google to give me an accurate picture of the years he spent in the quiet land of Midian, but the text does say he was married and had multiple children before the burning bush appeared and before his true purpose of leading his people in triumphant liberation began. When the Lord spoke to him, ablaze and full of Life, Moses hid his face and cried out that he wasn’t good enough. His voice wasn’t loud enough and his heart wasn’t equipped.
“But Moses said to the Lord, ‘Oh my Lord, I am no eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue” Exodus 4:10
And the Lord spoke back, asking how dare Moses question the I AM.
“Then the Lord said to him, ‘Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? No, therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak” Exodus 4:11-12
Maybe you relate to Moses (and to me) because you long to live a life that matters, and are tempted to take matters into your own hands; to find your own purpose. Maybe you are in in the desert, living a quiet life and believing that you are not good enough to be used by the Lord. Or maybe He is calling you to the highest heights and you are shouting back “I CAN’T!” The Lord is one who touches dry and disobedient hearts in the lavish places, to pull us into the desert, in order to mold humility into our spirits. He is also the Lord who sets our heart ablaze, calling us into a great purpose and calling when we are ready. Grace is given to those with blood-stained-take-matters-into-your-own hands kind of people, and renewal is often given in gentleness and quiet. A calling is given to humble hearts who don’t feel equipped to forge forward. A purpose is given to the one who lays down his life for his Lord.
Take heart! Whichever Moses you are, the Lord is a burning bush whose force is unstoppable and whose love is kind. He is working on your heart, gently healing it, reworking it, and soaking it in his grace. The I AM has written your story to proclaim the Author. And what greater purpose is there?