When I was 6 years old, I became gravely ill and had a high fever for an extended period of time. One of my earliest memories is one of my parents holding me in a bathtub filled with water and ice in an attempt to break this fever. I didn’t understand at all what was happening.
That night, the fever broke, and I began to recover, but a result of the fever I lost 90% of my hearing in both ears and my world went largely silent. As a young boy my world became one with moving lips and actions that had no sounds. I felt alone and separated from everything around me.
My amazing parents jumped into efforts to solve my silent world that included lip-reading classes, hearing aids, and thinking through every possible way to help me function in a hearing world. Elementary teachers in my small town joined the army of helpers and I honestly believe this team of incredible people made my world so much better than it could have been.
But life was still difficult and I had some weighty questions. Why is everyone else normal while I have this hearing loss? Where was God when this was taking place? How can a God who is supposed to be able do anything sit idly by when I’m struggling badly?
I was convinced that life was unfair and that I was a victim.
I can’t remember how many times God reminded me “I’m not done with you yet. The story is not over. Why can’t you trust Me for the next chapter?”
Slowly, I learned to trust Him for one thing, then another. And now, daily. He’s still not done! My journey of faith continues, and I’m in no way disappointed with what He is doing!
“What would these lives have been like if they had never listened to God or been open to His help? How would their stories have been different?” It’s not difficult to imagine how badly things would go with any of these biblical characters if they hadn’t stopped, listened and obeyed.
I frequently think about where I would be today if I were “on my own.” I don’t like what I envision.
Have you wondered if God was done with you? Have you stopped entertaining the “what if” question that God sometimes surprises us with? “What if God were to do this work in my life, or answer this prayer? What if He were to give me next steps in the days ahead?”
Let’s remember some things we’ve learned:
Reminder #1 - God is completely aware of where you are and what is taking place. Sometimes this truth is uncomfortable, especially when we prefer things be hidden. At other times, this is the most welcomed truth in the world. I may feel lost, but God knows where I am!
Reminder #2 – You’re never alone. God is there. He is with you. This is generally true in that God is omni-present. He’s literally everywhere. .
Reminder #3 – God still gives promises and keeps them. Some of the greatest stories in the Bible involve promises God gave to His people that He kept, no matter how impossible the circumstances were. God still gives promises and keeps them.
Reminder #4 – God’s resources are endless. The wisdom displayed by Abigail and Esther in trying moments is impressive. God gives amazing insight, strength or resolve.
Reminder # 5 – Patiently waiting for God to speak or act keeps us from self-destructing. Moses’ anger and compulsion kept setting him back instead of moving him forward. If he’d only waited for God to work, his life would have been far simpler! It’s true of us, too.
Reminder # 6 – Grace and grit work well together. We can’t do anything well without God’s grace, but He also calls us to endurance. It’s important to hang in there while waiting on God to work. We hang in there when marriage is challenging or when raising kids is making us crazy. Those seasons will pass if we don’t give up. We have to hang in there when life feels awful, knowing it will change at some point. We must hang in there because the opposite is to give up. “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.” 2 Corinthians 15:10
That’s grace and grit.
Reminder #7 – During every difficult season, God is building our character to become more like Christ. If we remember that God is always at work to help us become more like Christ, then this reminder is a welcomed one.
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren.” Romans 8:28-29
He’s shaping us. He’s shaping YOU, and knowing He is using our circumstances to cause us to be more like Christ is a great encouragement.
Sometimes life is not what we thought it would be. Or maybe it’s not all of life that seems misaligned, but a big piece is out of kilter and is seriously holding us back.
Maybe our faith is shaken because God is not doing what we think He should do.
We see – again – evil triumph over good, and the injustice disappoints us.
We pray – and see or hear nothing from the God who tells us to call out to Him!
Our marriage or family – or our prospects of those are disappointing.
We trusted someone, and they betrayed our trust – and it hurts.
Have been in any of these places? Have you felt this in your life in any way?
Somewhere in the grief that those things cause in us, we look around us for someone to blame, and in the search we land on God Himself. Where WERE you? WHY did you let this happen?
If you’ve felt this way before, you’re not far from where Peter was in John 21. He’s lost his grip on faith and has gone back to what he knew from before – which was fishing. Jesus has died in what Peter perceives as a crushing defeat – and even though the tomb is empty, it’s not making sense to this fisherman yet. Peter’s plan for Jesus has bit the dust. He’s disillusioned.
The dictionary defines “disillusioned” as a having lost one’s ideals, illusions or ideas about someone or something. Peter was there. It’s true that Peter didn’t know the bigger plan, and it’s also true that he had some ideals and hopes about Jesus that were his OWN, but so do we.
And that’s why WE are sometimes disillusioned, as well. It’s why we’re close to giving up.
And then Jesus shows up on the shore while Peter and the others are in the boats after a miserable and fruitless night of fishing. Just for moment, imagine you’re in that tiny boat on a dark sea all night, and you’ve been grumbling, along with the rest of them. You see the man on the seashore calling out to you. “Children, you do not have any fish, do you?” “No,” you answer. “Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat and you will find a catch.”
I love that Jesus comes to people in their doubt and disillusionment. He does this over and over! I love that He tells them to do something that seems ridiculous. THEY (you and your boatmates) are the experts when it comes to fish. (We just have to remember Jesus is the expert over all of creation)
Well, the disciples do what He says and suddenly, everything changes. The nets are so full they cannot haul it all in. John sees the evidence, looks again at the shore and says, “It’s the Lord,” and Peter dives in the water to get to Him. What are YOU doing at that point?
We usually run away from God when we’re disillusioned. This is what Peter was actually doing at the beginning of this story – he was rowing a boat AWAY from the Lord until Jesus reached out, and now he is swimming BACK to Jesus on the shore. In the ensuing and amazing conversation that follows, Jesus restores Peter’s faith – and he never doubts again.
What Jesus does to help Peter, he can do for any of us.
He did this for my family when we walked through an incredible seasons of loss and disappointment. He helped us put the pieces of our faith back together and helped us to get on the journey with him once more.
When we have this kind of conversation with Jesus, He reminds us of who we are. He helps us remember how to truth again, and He reminds us how to LOVE JESUS again.
“Peter, do you love me more than these? Tend My lambs.” John 21:15
And then on the heels of that, “Follow Me.” John 21:19
Just as Jesus said “Follow Me,” to Peter and the disciples in the beginning, He says it again on the other side of doubt and disappointment. “Follow Me.” He’s saying that to you today.
God wasn’t done with Peter and God’s not done with you. As you read Peter’s comeback story – and the stories of others – my prayer is that you’ll trust Him with your own story.
On the other side of all these things, I think you’ll come to appreciate a verse that my wife and I hold near and dear. It is this one.
“As for God, His way is perfect.” Psalm 18:30. It may not seem so in the beginning, but by the end, you’ll be saying the very same thing.
This chapter of God’s Not Done With You is for everyone who has sinned. That, of course, is all of us. The reason we sit down and talk about this subject is because it is so common to the human race, and so often we’re blinded and deceived when it comes to the solution for our acts of sin. We don’t know what to do when we’ve blown it.
This is about the choices and actions we regret. It’s about temptations we’ve fallen into and messes we’ve made. It deals with what to do when we don’t KNOW what to about our sin. If this gets your attention, I can predict how you might feel. You may think God is done with you. You may think you just messed up too big for God to help you. If you think that, you may be encouraged by what I’m about to say.
The tragic story of King David and his deep dive into sin is very, very well-known. I call this “the most infamous act of the adultery in the history of the world.” Maybe you know the story as it’s told in 2 Samuel 11 and 12. Two chapters details this sad chain of events, providing everything you need to see what sin looks like. This story also involves one of the most complicated, reluctant responses to sin. David messes this up worse after he messes it up the first time. The result is a set of circumstances beyond complication.
Here's the story in a nutshell: David called for the wife of an Israeli soldier who was at war, bedded her while her husband was on the front lines, impregnated her, and attempted to cover it up by arranging her husband’s death. David tried to hide all this, but God sent Nathan the prophet to expose his sin and make it public to all of the kingdom.
David is in free fall. No one can stop his fall, except David himself, and he can only do this by confessing his sin and repenting. David is done until this happens. God is going to put him on the shelf, until repentance takes place. It’s convicting!
Before we see the solution to all this – it’s good to pause and remind ourselves:
Sin is always a setback. Sin is never in secret. Sin is not the end.
There is a way out. Psalm 51 is that beautiful chapter where David confesses his sin to God.
Psalm 51 is when David stops hiding, stops running from God and starts running TO God. Our first response is anything but running to God – even though God has made it clear that He wants us to run TO Him. Think about Adam and Eve. Jonah. David. The prodigal son. Run TO God, not away.
You know, repentance is a subject that people talk about a great deal. I’ve seen many try to define this in various ways. There’s no doubt David needs to repent. But at the core of it, repentance is running to GOD, because when we run to God, we (by necessity) run away from sin!
So David is running to God, and what we learn in Psalm 51 is so helpful. If you’re coming back to God – or even thinking about it, remember these principles.
1. Run TO God directly. You don’t have to go through any intermediary. Run directly to God.
2. Take ownership over your sin. God doesn’t play the blame game. We think we can see a million reasons why we did something wrong, and we’re eager to blame others, but God doesn’t accept it. Take ownership. Say, “I was wrong.”
3. When you come back, trust in His mercy and forgiveness.
The Scripture gives us great hope that God will be merciful. “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Hide Your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquities. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation.” Psalm 51:7, 9, 12
Do you see what David recognizes in that statement? David recognizes that only God can do those things for him, so he throws himself at God’s feet. Purge me. Wash me. Hide your face from my sins. Restore me. This is how you come to God.
David’s situation was bad, but God’s mercy was great. I don’t know what you’re dealing with today, but God does – and He is able to take you on the same journey of forgiveness and restoration that David was on. Trust him to do that for you.
If you like novels, I have one for you that is completely covered in one single chapter of Scripture, 1 Samuel 25. In 44 verses, you have an action novel, a drama, a thriller and finally a romance novel. Only in the Bible can you get all that in one chapter!
For some reason, I missed all this in my many readings of the Bible until one day it all unfolded for me, as I hope it will for you. Why do you need to know about a woman named Abigail? You need to know this story because it will help you navigate the most challenging relationships in your life. Abigail is dealing with an angry, abusive spouse on one hand, an offended warrior and future king on the other, all the while trying to protect and nurture her own household and family. This IS that spot between a rock and a hard place, and Abigail is in that spot.
Here's the short version. The future king, David, that young warrior destined to king of Israel is roaming the countryside with his band of soldiers. They happen upon the grazing land of Nabal, who is Abigail’s husband – who by all account is foolish, selfish, and arrogant. When David sees an opportunity to rest and feed his men, Nabal pushes back, refusing to help them and even disrespecting David, the conflict is ON. Neither will back down. As David and his men rush toward Nabal’s house, breathing fire and threats, Abigail is told of what’s about to happen, and realizes that she ALONE can prevent the bloodshed.
What would you do if you were in Abigail’s place? This is like the clash of two titans. Something bad is going to take place – it’s inevitable UNLESS Abigail steps up. If you’ve ever been around an angry person or BEEN one - if you’ve ever felt insulted and disrespected or been PRESENT when it happened – OR if you’ve tried to protect others around you from people who are hell-bent on destruction, you’ll take so much away from this story that will help you in life.
I love this story because Abigail’s character comes through so clearly. She takes responsibility. Someone has to! Nabal and David have lost their minds and are not thinking about the destruction ahead, but Abigail sees it. Sometimes, it rests on us to act in such a way that defuses the situation. I know – it’s not FAIR that she’s placed in this position, but there are times we don’t have the luxury of debating fairness. Abigail must intervene. That takes faith.
She also shows respect. Since neither man is respecting the other, Abigail senses this is important. It’s easy to see how she gives respect to David in their interaction and it’s the starting place for lowering his anger. Since Nabal will NOT respect David, Abigail does.
She also exercises restraint when no one else will. Someone has to be calm in an explosive moment and that restraint allows her to consider what’s at risk.
She also brings God into the conversation. As Oswald Chambers famously said, “Once we lose sight of God, we become reckless.” Everyone in this story is reckless except Abigail! Listen carefully to how she counsels David on his way to destroy Nabal’s house. “As the Lord lives…the Lord has restrained you…for the Lord will certainly make for my lord an enduring house, because my lord is fighting the battles of the Lord, and evil will not be found in you.” (v. 26-28). Get this: Abigail keeps the future king from sabotaging his future with her restraint and her appeal. She’s looking out for him. She’s making sure he thinks about God. You can never go wrong doing that.
When Nabal finds out about her intervention on his behalf, he collapses and within days is dead.
The timeline of this story is fast and furious, as life tends to be. God shows up just in time, as He tends to do. He’s never really early from our perspective, but you certainly cannot accuse him of being late, either. God does just what is necessary to redeem this intense, sin-filled situation. Isn’t that kind of what God does? He redeems things.
God has worked through Abigail and has deterred catastrophe. He uses her words to remind David about Himself and His future plans for David’s household. Abigail has protected her household from death, and finally has a season of peace and silence.
Her huge questions about her future are answered when David later sends for her to be his queen. The details of this romance – this marriage – are not in the text, but the significance of what has taken place is so encouraging. God can redeem ANY situation in your life. Even when the players around you are toxic and angry, God is at work. May He surprise you in how He completes YOUR story!
I’m pretty sure many of us have been in a dark place, where things don’t make sense spiritually and emotionally. People have sometimes called a place like this, “a dark night of the soul.” It’s where fear, disappointment, and discouragement meet together to knock us off our feet – sometimes for long periods of time. This darkness is not necessarily about circumstances, and it’s not about the presence of enemies in our lives. It’s often not physical at all – it sometimes happens during the greatest times of our lives, circumstantially – but this darkness has the ability to drown all the great things of life out.
My wife and I actually battled this kind of discouragement a few years into our marriage, and we wondered if God was even aware of where we were and what we were going through. We would come to call this depression – and we didn’t know much about it until it became personal to us. We later learned that it affects more people than almost any other kind of mental ailment. The World Health Organization calls it, “The leading cause of disability in the world.” It’s very real to many, and it was certainly real to us.
It was such a difficult time for, but we now look back on that time as a huge time of growth and victory where God met us in the dark places. And yes, we speak of this in past tense. It’s part of our history – but not part of our present experience.
Those many years ago, we didn’t know where to turn, but when we did begin to reach out to God for answers, we found hope and instruction in an Old Testament book named 1 Kings, with a verse that said, “Enough! Now, Lord, take my life.” 1 Kings 19:4.
That got our attention and the story that unfolded before and after this verse become a beacon of hope straight from the life of a man named Elijah into the frightened young adult lives that we were living those many years ago. By the way, doing a slow read through just the two chapters of 1 Kings 18 and 19 will help you anchor yourself to God in unexplainable times of darkness and confusion. And that anchor will hold, my friend.
We discovered some things about life and God in those valleys of depressing darkness.
We learned that mountaintops of victory are often followed by valleys of despair.
We learned that how we take care of ourselves contributes to our outlook and health.
We learned that the things we fear the most are often things we should fear the least!
And we learned that God often sends the help that we so desperately need…if we’re looking!
For me, the greatest part of Elijah’s story is his meeting with God on a lonely mountain, where Elijah is wanting to end it all. Without this meeting, Elijah learns NONE of the lessons I’ve just mentioned. WITH this meeting, everything changes.
I’m not afraid to emphasize this idea of meeting with God because I believe God has promised to reveal Himself to those who seek Him! It’s not an empty promise because He’s made it! And He’s faithful to fulfill in our own lives. I’m sure He will for you, as well.
When you meet with God, He’s going to change everything. That’s what Elijah’s experience teaches us, and that’s what meetings with God tend to do:
He asks questions: What are you doing here, in this condition?
He changes perspectives: Why would you be afraid and discouraged?
He gives direction: Get up and do what I’ve asked!
All through Elijah’s story, God is telling him, “I’m not done with you. I’m not done with you. I have a plan for you. It’s not over yet.”
The stories of the Bible often surprise us. We expect a certain thing or fear a certain thing, but then God turns the entire story on a certain event – or, in this case, a non-event.
Elijah was SURE that Jezebel would murder him – after all, she had promised to so and had the military clout to bring it about. In running, he was sure he wanted GOD to take his life. He was so tired and so weary. He was thinking death from any direction. He was certain death was next. That’s where this story is so fun. We often fear the most what we should fear the least.
Do you remember how Elijah died? Did Jezebel catch him? Did he meet death prematurely? Do you remember how this story goes? Well, some of you remember. Elijah doesn’t die at all. He’s caught up in a whirlwind into heaven. There’s NO record of his death, and he actually appears later in the NEW Testament.
Why? Because God is not done with Elijah, even though Elijah thought so. We wondered about that many years ago, and then discovered, “He’s not done with us.” And if you’re here, I can confidently say, “God’s Not Done With You.”
The dictionary defines “despair” as a loss of hope – a mindset that gives up any hope of something better happening in a circumstance, season, or life. How many times have you been there? Are you there now? Have you given up on something important to you? Do you think God is done with you in that matter?
You should read about THIS woman – Esther. Here is a woman whose story is so powerful, she has a book of the Bible named after her! That’s rare enough, but her story is one of the most unique stories in the history of storytelling. Esther is just ten chapters long and it’s better than any romance or adventure novel you’ll ever read. It’s a great investment of your time to read – and understand the HOPELESSNESS, the DOUBT and CONFUSION this woman when through – and then the incredible VICTORY and RESCUE that took place because of her.
If you’ve had all the odds stacked against you before, you’ll be familiar with Esther’s situation.
The story has a wicked king, a pagan, sexualized culture, repressive patriarch, murderous racism, and drunken revelry. And that’s just the first chapter. When the king decides he needs a new wife, he issues an edict for a nationwide search for a beautiful young virgin who will go through a process of preparation and even competition to eventually get a night with the king – which in itself is repressive and enslaving. Esther goes through all this, and the end result is that this young Jewish girl who is living in exile in Babylon becomes the queen. We have so many questions. But there’s more.
There’s a villain in the story – Haman – who has a diabolical plan to kill all of the Jews (Esther’s people) and he has the clout to get it done. Esther seems to be the only person who can intervene. Now, on top of all these hopeless indicators – this is the one book of the Bible where God’s name is not mentioned. God does not speak in any recordable way in the book of Esther. We see and hear of no prophets, messengers, or angels. He is there and He seems to be silent for the moment. What a hopeless season!
All this sets the scene for an incredible series of conversations and events that lead to the rescue of Esther and her people.
You’ve heard all the famous words of this book:
“The king loved Esther more than all the women, and she found favor and kindness with Him…”
“If you keep silent at this time, liberation and rescue will arise for the Jews from another place, and you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?”
"Go, assemble all the Jews who are found in Susa, and fast for me…and then I will go in to the king, which is not accordance to the law; and if I perish, I perish.”
These are climactic words that describe hard moments of decision where Esther places her life in the hands of an invisible God who seems to let His character and history do all the talking. Esther is walking in HOPE while in a HOPELESS situation, and she shows us all how to do it.
The great preacher, Ron Dunn, said, “Good and evil run on parallel tracks, and they arrive at about the same time.” I agree. And Esther sees the evil tracks before the good track becomes apparent. But that’s what living by faith is all about. It’s what we have to do when we feel hopeless.
The most FUN part of the book of Esther follows her great moment of trusting God. You MUST read this part for yourselves. After reading it, you must admit to a series of incredible coincidences, confirmed by history, or you must choose to believe that God does work silently and powerfully to weave together everything for the good of those who love Him.
It's all so fascinating to me because when I look back at my life, I see some similar things happening. Maybe I’ve just seen God do too many things that align perfectly in multiple ways in answer to prayer to believe that ANYTHING is coincidental. I’m not naïve to enough to think that great things happen without God. This story ends SO WELL, in spite of its hopeless setting.
I believe God is a God of hope -not despair. If you are alive, He’s not done with YOU or with YOUR STORY.
Esther’s message is unmistakable! God is there, even when you cannot see Him and even though you may not hear from Him. He doesn’t miss a detail. He doesn’t miss a moment.
His eye is on the sparrow – I know He watches you. He’s not done with you
Certain stories and movies begin with the end – and then go back to tell the story of how it all unfolded. I’m thinking of movies like Saving Private Ryan, or Forest Gump that are set up like that. It’s a weird feeling to see the end first, but I find it very helpful and interesting to see how it all gets to the conclusion -and I’m actually excited to see how it falls into place, when it doesn’t seem like it will be able to get there.
Life is like that. Understanding life is like that. The story of Joseph is precisely like that.
What if you could conclude your life by what I call the 50/20 principle? This principle is named after the verse where it’s found, Genesis 50:20. Here it is – this is what Joseph said to his brothers at the end of his life, “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.”
What if I told you that this will be your reality? What if I said, “Whatever else you’ll experience in your life, at the end of it, you’ll be able to say, ‘God meant it for good!’” Would that help you while you walk through and wait through the story? Would that enable you to trust God with your life in a deeper way? It has helped me!
The story of Joseph is, to me, the most encouraging story in the Bible. If you’ve read the 14 chapters of Genesis 37-50, you know what I mean. It only takes a few minutes to read these chapters, but as you do, you are able to see the incredibly complex journey of his life from beginning to end.
The things he experienced make the story relatable to just about every person I know.
He was rejected by the very people who should have loved him the most.
He was hated and abandoned by his brothers – who really wanted to kill him.
He was enslaved and removed from everything that was familiar or dear to him.
He was slandered and falsely accused when he did everything right!
He was isolated and forgotten and left to rot in prison.
But God wasn’t done with Joseph!
Those low points of his life followed great times of promise – when good things were happening to Joseph. This means that his life was like a roller-coaster. His very high moments are nearly always followed by deep and dark valleys.
One of the wild things about this story (and about our lives sometimes) is that Joseph didn’t do anything to deserve the poor treatment. He was victimized in so many ways, but never allowed himself to simply BE a victim. He was treated with so much injustice, and never deserved what he experienced – but again – rose above all that with the help of God. How does that work?
Here’s how it works. Through every experience, Joseph was assured that God was WITH him, and he learned that God could use all of those painful things in his life. In fact, it’s the very awareness that God was with him that helped him get through the tough times. We see that truth several times, especially in the “prison chapter.”
It says, “But the Lord was with Joseph…” Genesis 39:21
I think this is the primary application of these 14 chapters of the life of Joseph.
If I can believe by faith that God will take every situation – and cause it work for good…
If I can believe He is WITH me, even when I can’t see or hear him…
If I can see how He has consistently been faithful in the lives of others.
THEN I can wait through to the end, fully trusting that God will do the same in my life.
I’d remind you, if you’re a follower of Christ – He is with you, JUST as He was with Joseph. In fact, I’d go much further than that. God is MORE with you than He was with Joseph. He is IN you fulfilling the promise of Jesus to give you the Holy Spirit. He will never leave you or abandon you. Believe that.
Knowing God’s WITH you, helps you know God’s not DONE with you.
Even in those dark times when you can’t feel him or see him or hear Him. He’s there. He knows where you are, and He is weaving your story to have the same testimony as Joseph’s. He wants you to trust that He will get you there – and allow Him to shape you on your journey.
You can say with Joseph, “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.”
Unless you’re at the very end of your life – unless you’re taking your very last breath as you hear these words, I believe this with all my heart, God’s Not Done With You.
I love comeback stories. Most of us do. The plot lines are always similar. Bad things have happened, maybe from the beginning. Someone is counted out, and no believes in their future. Tragedy happens and sets a journey back – and then, all of a sudden, the picture changes. A cataclysmic event starts a new season and direction – and before we know it, everything is different.
Spiritually speaking, we sometimes feel that our past holds us back so badly, there is no real future. We think we’ve done something God cannot get past. We may feel He’s done with us.
Have you been there?
If so, this book is for you. God’s Not Done With You is filled with biblical comeback stories – where the main characters wondered if God was finished with them. I love that there are so many that we can come to know who now have the testimony that God was NOT finished with them.
We begin with one of the biggest. The life of Moses. Most of us know who Moses is, but did you know his life is told in three seasons? Just about everyone knows about season 1, where he was put in a wicker basket on the Nile and rescued by the Pharaoh’s daughter. That’s told in just 15 verses in Exodus 2.
Most of us know about season 3, where God uses Moses to set the Israelites free. It’s an amazing lesson in history and in the power of a Sovereign God, but there an interesting interlude in between.
Are you aware of season 2? The one in the middle? This is what I call the 40-year dark season of Moses’ life, where he is on the backside of the desert. He has committed murder in an angry retaliation for the mistreatment of his people but has to run for his life.
“But Moses fled from the presence of Pharaoh and settled in the land of Midian, and he sat down by a well.” Exodus 2:15
Nobody makes movies about this season. It’s too dark and painful. Overcome with regret and sorrow, Moses is wandering alone. He remembers that God had rescued him as an infant, and he recalls favor from the Lord, but now I think he’s too discouraged and regretful to see what God has next. I’m convinced this is a season of many tears. Eventually, Moses lands in a place where no one else can find him. But God knows where he is. And God knows how to get his attention.
Most of us have done things we regret. Sometimes we’ve acted out in anger. I know I have. I wish I could take words back, remove the effects of actions I’ve taken, people I’ve hurt. Anger can ruin, but God can rescue. I learn this from Moses’ life!
There’s a bigger picture going on in Moses’ life that he’s completely unaware of. He doesn’t see that God is still going to use him. He’s doesn’t know that he’s being prepared for bigger things than he’s ever imagined. WHAT IF we could see that every dark season has a redemptive piece to it where God is going to use what we don’t think He can use?
New seasons begin with new encounters. That’s what the burning bush is all about. God is getting Moses’ attention and he’s going to give him a new assignment.
“The angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush…”. Exodus 3:2
Think about what that experience must have been like for Moses. Wouldn’t you have turned aside to look at the bush, just like Moses did? There are so many things the scripture teaches us this encounter with God – but they are better caught than taught.
What God teaches Moses, He yearns to teach us, but we have to give Him our attention. And Moses does it right – you must read it for yourself in Exodus 3.
However, there is one thing I want to urge you to do right now. Allow me to PUSH you, to URGE you to have a new encounter with God and allow Him to speak into your future – no matter what your past is like. Don’t look for a burning bush – look for His written words in the Bible. Don’t wait for the backside of the desert. Open your heart and mind to Him now.
Let me tell you what I’ve learned. In my years, I rarely remember what other people say to me in the way of direction and advice. But I never forget what I hear God say to me in my most difficult and dark times. And every time He speaks, it’s the beginning of something powerful.
It might be that right here and now, God is making you aware that He’s not done with you. Stick around to experience what God has planned.
Thoughts from John Meador and insights from God's Word.