“When the LORD saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, ‘Moses! Moses!’” Exodus 3:4a (NIV)
Sometimes, walking or running away from my failure is easier than facing it.
I’ve walked away from a struggling friendship rather than working through the rough patch to keep it strong.
I've walked away from an open door of opportunity because the closed door of a past failure still resounded in my ears.
But what opportunities we miss when we abandon something, whether it be a relationship, job or a ministry. We don’t even consider that something better is beyond our failure! And that’s where we find Moses in Exodus 2-3.
Moses was raised as an Egyptian, but one day Moses was walking among his people and he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew slave. After glancing first one way and then another to make sure no one was looking, Moses killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.
The very next day, Moses realized his actions were widely known. Pharaoh was out to kill him, and his fellow Hebrews mocked him. Moses had failed on many levels, so he bailed.
Moses fled to a place called Midian, married a woman named Zipporah and joined her family business taking care of sheep. The next time we see Moses, 40 years have passed, and his life has not gone as he expected. Born into a palace and placed in the perfect position to alleviate his people’s oppression, he blew it all with one mistake.
Oh, sister, I’ve been there. Have you?
Moses was stuck hiding in Midian, held hostage by his failures. He had settled for less than what he was made for. Less than what God had prepared him for. Less than what he had hoped for in himself.
This is where many people plant themselves and settle. They make a mistake, fall flat on their face and run away to the far side of the wilderness, hoping no one will notice, maybe hoping to forget about it themselves. Praying everyone will just leave them alone while at the same time absolutely miserable that life has morphed into a monotonous, lackluster checklist. Like Moses, many bury their hopes and dreams to protect their hearts from further disappointment.
But that’s not where God wanted Moses to stay, and that’s not where God wants you to stay, either. We all fail. We all make mistakes. Peter did. Moses did. Jacob did. Samson did. David did. But just because you failed does not mean you ARE a failure. You are a child of God … a child who makes mistakes.
At just the right time, God set a bush on fire right in front of Moses. Exodus 3:4a tells us, “When the LORD saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, ‘Moses! Moses!’”
Once God had Moses’ attention, God told him it was time to get unstuck and move forward. God wasn’t finished with Moses. In the following chapters of Exodus, we see that God brought Moses back to Egypt, where he was a wanted man. God placed him right in front of Pharaoh, where God spoke through Moses and eventually freed the Hebrews — the Israelites — to put them on the path to His promised land.
God is not finished with you or me, either. He has a plan … a good and perfect plan. And no failure of yours is big enough to thwart it.
So if you feel stuck, if you’ve failed and bailed to your far side of the wilderness, it’s time to get unstuck and move forward. God is calling you to let go of your failure, move forward in all He has for you to do and live boldly.
Dear God, I cringe at the times I’ve failed and bailed. But I am thankful for Your love that calls me out of the wilderness of failure and into the well-watered garden of Your grace. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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Everyone likes a good story, but not everyone likes their own story. But what if your worst chapters could become your greatest victories? Check out Sharon Jaynes’ newest book, When You Don’t Like Your Story, and see how God wants to use what you’ve gone through for a powerful purpose.
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FOR DEEPER STUDY
Exodus 3:11-12a, “But Moses said to God, ‘Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?’ And God said, ‘I will be with you.’” (NIV)
Read Exodus 3-4 in your Bible. Can you find Moses’ four arguments that threatened to keep him stuck in his state of failure? Read God’s responses to each — responses that would set Moses free. The first one is in the verse above.
Do you see yourself in any of those arguments? What is God’s response to the one you picked? Let us know in the comments!
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