“If we wait until we’re ready, we’ll be waiting for the rest of our lives.”
― Lemony Snicket
It’s easy to encourage others to trust in the Lord and in His strength. But I must admit – I often wonder if I really understand what it means to be strong in Him. Growing up in a “make sure you have your act together” world, I find myself pressing always to be excellent at everything I set out to do. Faith is distilled like water into a set of easy-to-swallow actions that honestly make faith unnecessary. But there are those dreams – those bigger than my ability dreams – that can’t be placed on a tidy checklist or broken down like a recipe. Those dreams are beautiful, awe-inspiring things. And they are terrifying.
It’s easier to focus on excellence. Yet I know we’re called to even greater things than being able to accomplish everything. We are called to bear witness to what God can accomplish.
Someone asked me what my big dream is. I’ve got an entire list of adventures I want to live (and the list keeps growing), but there is a dream that has formed in my heart that I can’t let go of. It’s this:
To publish a book – and produce a documentary based on one of its chapters – that will build a very special school in a third-world country. And for THAT to change culture.
Yes, I do write. Yes, I have a background in video production. Yes, I am blessed to be an advocate for vulnerable children. But this dream terrifies me because it’s so undone. There is no talent that is refined enough, no connection that is strong enough, no pockets that are deep enough. And even though I am taking one small step after another small step toward bringing the dream to life, I feel completely inadequate to make it a reality. I hear myself whisper the damning words, “I will surely fail.”
Finally, let the mighty strength of the Lord make you strong. Ephesians 6:10
I whisper to myself, “trust in the Lord and in His strength.”
And then I wonder if I’ll feel that strength at all in this journey, or if I’ll fail because I don’t feel strong. Or if bearing witness is strength enough.
Thank goodness there’s Moses. As a shepherd, he had carefully crafted a staff – a beautiful piece of wood that served as defender and disciplinarian for the herd he carefully tended. He knew how to protect and he knew how to serve, he knew the importance of the nightwatch and knew the right places to lead his flock to be fed and watered. He was careful and he was wise.
He carried the staff with him as he worked, protecting and then prodding the herds of sheep he watched over day after day. The leader turned shepherd would then throw away his sandals as he watched a tree blaze before him – he would be in the presence of divinity as he discovered his calling to be a leader once again.
And that staff – the same one Moses had been using to lead sheep – became a powerful weapon against darkness as he led people. God used it to part the Red Sea, to turn the Nile River into blood, to perform miracle after miracle, and to make a dry rock pour out water.
The Moses that yielded his well-formed talents and skills to the Lord? Yes, that Moses makes sense to me.
But after that staff had been used to part the Red Sea, Moses and the children of Israel had to start walking. The road they were walking looked no better than where they had come from – it was wilderness and it was desolate. Hungry, tired and thirsty, they finally found water – but it was too bitter to drink. And the same people who had just sung God’s praises about being able to control water with a staff complained loudly at Moses about there being no water at all. Moses did what he knew to do – what they all could have done. He reached out to the Lord of the water. And the Lord whispered the solution to Him. There was no God holding back the waters with that staff this time. There was a simple command. “Grab a log, Moses. A raw piece of wood. The unformed, uncured beginning of the stick you’ve been using to bring power – this is a reminder of the God of its creation. Throw the log in the water, Moses. Throw it in before it’s been whittled and shaped, before it’s become something everyone sees as useful and powerful. Trust Me now before it makes sense. Go ahead.”
He did. And the water grew sweet.
This Moses? This is the Moses I need to become – the one who surrenders the undone parts and trusts the Lord to use them with the same power as the pieces that are complete.
And again I whisper, “trust in the Lord and in His strength.” And I let go of the undone pieces.
All God’s giants have been weak men who did great things for God because they reckoned on God being with them. ~Hudson Taylor
Are you ready to join me? How may I pray for you, for the strength to surrender both the done and the undone pieces of you?