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R&V In the Word: Signs and Wonders, Doubts and Fears

Read Exodus 3-4:17 MSG

The angel of God appeared to him in flames of fire blazing out of the middle of a bush. He looked. The bush was blazing away but it didn’t burn up. … He said, “Oh, Master, please! Send somebody else!”

Exodus 3:2 and 4:13 MSG

Can you imagine being Moses, standing in front of a bush that won’t burn up, and arguing with God? How blinded by fear and doubt do you have to be to stare into the miraculous and wondrous, and still resist its glory and calling on your life? 

I like to think if I had been in Moses’ shoes, being told to take my sandals off because of holy ground and all, I would have said yes to what God was calling me to without hesitation. I like to think I’m a more obedient and willing disciple, that, when God speaks, I’m going to listen.

Turns out it doesn’t really take that much to make us run the other direction. Thankfully, Moses was honest about what happened to him in the wilderness, because Moses, even Moses, had doubts and fears that got in the way of his ability to step into God’s calling.

And yet God makes a way.

Despite our fears, our doubts, our inabilities, our shortcomings, our mistakes, our hesitation, our egos, and our pride, God makes a way, over and over again, to reveal his goodness, to make a way through the desert, to spring beauty from ashes. It is what God does.

We don’t need a burning bush to know it. Signs and wonders are all around us, all of the time. Right now it is literally snowing seeds where I live. Cottonwoods loose their seeds in a bundle of white fibers that can carry for miles on the breeze. This fragile puff of the future floats, lands, and collects as if in snowdrifts. God has made a way for even these flakes of seed to take root. 

Just look around, really look, and you will see signs and wonders of God’s redemptive design built into the seasons, into the details of every living thing just doing what it’s supposed to do, as if programmed, being just what it was designed to be. Often we don’t have eyes to see, really, what’s going on right under our noses, but when the Holy Spirit whisks in, the veil is lifted. 

In every blade of grass a burning bush. 

Image: Jonathan Hislop 

If God holds this together, surely he can be trusted to hold my life together too. May I be as honest with God as Moses about my doubts and fears. May I be as willing as Moses to walk barefooted toward the burning bushes God has placed in front of me.

Points of Reflection

  1. When you have been asked to do something bigger than you thought you were capable of, how did you respond?
  2. God told Moses to take off his sandals because the land where he walked was holy ground. Where is your “holy ground”? Have you felt the presence of God in a place?

For the Kids

  1. Can you relate to Moses’ stage fright and public speaking fears? How does God’s promise that Aaron will be there to help him make you feel?
  2. What in the world inspires awe and wonder in you?

Action

Spend some time in a space that feels holy to you. It could be a church, or it could be a park, your backyard, a lake, the ocean, on a mountain… wherever it is, make space for a “burning bush” moment. Moses was in the wilderness and chose to walk toward the burning bush, to make space for God to speak through the burning bush. Sometimes it takes clearing the air of all our distractions and stepping into a place with intention in order for us to experience God in our midst. 

Readings

Moses reluctantly accepted the call God placed on his life there in the wilderness, but he certainly isn’t the only character in Scripture to drag his feet into what God planned to do through him. In fact, you could name any Bible character and find some way they tried to hedge out of the right next step, the step into a more faith-full life. To me, that’s encouraging. If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat by John Ortberg looks at Peter’s relationship with Jesus and what we can learn from him about taking those first frightening steps out onto the water with the Lord.
Listen or read online through your local library’s Libby app, or buy on Amazon.com or through a local independent bookstore near you.

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