Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Plans and Presence

Posted by Michael

Few leaders in history are as admired and respected as Moses. The challenges that Moses faced as a leader are too many to count, among them: How do you change the thinking of a people who have experienced only slavery for hundreds of years? How do you keep them together as you travel across the desert to their new home? How do you calm them after you’ve told them that God hasn’t really told you the exact location of where you are going yet? If Jewish dietary laws would have allowed Moses to eat pork, he would have been a heart attack waiting to happen. So, how do you handle these sorts of massive challenges and all of the stress and uncertainty that comes with them?

Moses asked God for details.

That makes sense. If somehow he could just know where they were going, how they were going to get there and what to do in the meantime, then maybe he would make it. The answer that Moses received back from God wasn’t what he had in mind, however. God did not offer a detailed travel itinerary complete with maps and a book of easy recipes for how to cook for 40,000 of your closest friends and relatives. The answer Moses received was, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” (Exodus 33: 14 ESV)

I’ve asked God for details before. Ok, to be honest, I ask God for details every day. What am I supposed to write about? Can I trust this relationship? When should I expect this all to work out? And thousands of other questions just like those. I storm into prayer or the Bible looking for answers as if a new set of answers is what I really need. Mercifully, God knows me better than I do. God doesn't hand out blueprints for our individual lives (no, I wouldn't call the Bible, God's Blueprint for Life), He actually gives us something better. He gives us His company. He offers to walk the road with us.  I’ve found that God being with me on uncertain dark roads is a thousand times more satisfying than any  perfectly planned and predictable life ever could be. There’s still a part of me that stubbornly holds on to the idea that having a good plan and being well-informed is the key to life, but deep down I know better. I’ve had thousands of plans in my life, and some were downright brilliant if I do say so myself. As I look back, however, all the things I’ve done and all the places I’ve been as a result of careful planning have never been as important as who I’ve been with in those moments. The most important questions in life aren't the what, where, and when's, but who. When I have plans, I may have predictability, but I don’t have rest. I can only rest when I know that I’m not alone. Thankfully, that’s exactly what God promised Moses back then, and that’s what He promises us today. 

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