One of my favorite lines in the whole Bible is Moses’ response to God when God asks him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt:
“Pardon your servant, Lord,” Moses responds to God. “Please send someone else.” (Exodus 4:13)
I love how polite and respectful Moses is. And I love how he refuses to budge, even when standing face-to-face with God himself. Moses has moxy. Can you imagine outright refusing God, straight to his face?
I can. I do it all the time.
Last spring my friend Lelia called one evening to ask a favor. Turned out, one of her conference speakers had a family emergency. Three days before the retreat, Lelia was calling to ask if I might be able to step in to speak.
I said yes to Lelia on the spot. Then I got off the phone and spent the next two days desperately trying to come up with a Plan B.
I wrangled with God. I bargained with him. I begged and pleaded. I was, quite literally, Moses – terrified to speak in front of a crowd. “Come on, Man,” I said to God. “You know me. You know I hate public speaking, and you know I don’t ever, ever roll with anything. I’m high-maintenance. This is not my gig. I do not do eleventh-hour speaking engagements.”
Of course, God would have none of it.
No Plan B presented itself. I went to that conference, and I stood in front of that crowd with my knees knocking. I sweated so much at the podium, I removed my bracelet, my watch and my jacket during the talk. I joked to the audience that it was a good thing we only had 45 minutes, or I might have been standing in my underwear by the end of the hour.
While the talk wasn’t perfect, it got done. And just as God promised Moses, he was right there with me, right there in the room.
Before I spoke at the first session, my roommate, a woman I’d met only hours before, sat down next to me at the back of the room as I was nervously cramming for my talk. She put her hand on my shoulder, and she prayed for me – for strength, for articulate words, for a message that would sink deep into the hearts of the women participating in my session. Jen was my Aaron. She gave me the assurance and confidence that I could, and would, walk to the front of the room, stand behind the podium, and speak.
“God’s not interested in competence as much as he is in willingness,” writes Evi Wusk. This, I know from first-hand experience, is true. God can create competence in us, but he won’t create willingness – not because he can’t, but because he wants us to say yes to him on our own accord. God gives us the choice – yes or no. And if we choose yes, he guarantees he will be with us every step of the way.
Questions for Reflection:
Has God ever asked you to do something you absolutely did not want to do? Did you ever answer the call like Moses (and me) and try to say no? Can you think of a time when God was present for you, buoying you in your weakness?
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