I’ve often had conversations with people who are discouraged because they can’t seem to discover God’s will for their lives. Sometimes they feel a nudge to do a particular something but that particular something doesn’t make sense to them, so they ignore the holy nudge and continue on in their discouragement of not knowing God’s will for their lives. Have you ever been on that roller coaster? Good news — it doesn’t really have to be that hard.
You see, most often, God reveals His will to His children one step at a time. It’s performing those “one steps at a time” that takes the most faith on our part. We like to see the whole picture but if we saw the whole picture, maybe we would forget that our focus must always be on God in order to accomplish what He wants of us in the first place. If we saw the whole picture, we might just want to run ahead, ignoring the thrill of the race, and simply cross the finish line. What joy we would miss along the way if we could jump ahead to completion.
Last week I wrote about Moses and this week I’m still pondering him. What a man of great faith, but how did that faith come about? He wasn’t born with faith. It wasn’t his lack of fear; he openly admitted to God his fear and personal short-comings. Moses would have gladly stepped aside and let someone else do all that God had planned for Moses to do. If Moses had done that; stepped aside, what joy he would have missed in experiencing the likes of him to accomplish something mighty.
Take a look at Exodus 4. God told Moses to go to the people of Israel and announce that God had chosen him to lead them out of captivity. Moses was once again shaking in his sandals. “They’re not going to believe me!” Moses exclaimed in verse 1. Then God asked Moses a question in verse 2. “What is that in your hand?” Moses replied, “A Shepherd’s staff.” God then tells Moses to throw it on the ground. Now, Moses could not have known what in the world was going to happen by throwing his shepherd’s staff on the ground. In fact, he may have wondered why on earth God would instruct him to do such a thing! It made no sense. Why, Moses needed guidance and courage to perform the task of leading the Israelites out of Egypt. He needed to jump to the finish line! He didn’t need to waste time throwing sticks on the ground! Or, so he may have thought.
God, knowing us perfectly, understood that at that moment, what Moses needed was to develop some faith for the journey ahead. Developing that faith would bring Moses and the people he led great joy along the race toward the finish line.
Moses obeyed. He threw down the shepherd’s staff which became a snake. Then, of all things, God told Moses to grab the snake by the tail! Moses obeyed again, and the snake turned back into the shepherd’s staff.
Imagine what this must have done for Moses on his own journey of learning to trust God, and then basking in the joy of obedience to Him. Moses didn’t understand why God said to throw down his stick. He didn’t understand why God then told him to pick up the snake by the tail. He didn’t understand, but he did it anyway. Learning to obey God at the onset of his journey prepared Moses to stay focused on God; to trust God even when he didn’t understand His instructions. Learning the aspect of absolute trust in God allowed Moses to revel in the joy of what God did before his eyes.
It’s no different at all for you and for me. God knows the plans He has for you and His plans are good — all the time! He will lead you one step at a time to accomplish those plans. He will ask you as He asked Moses, “What is that in your hand?” If you answer, “All I have is a stick in my hand,” and God then says, “throw it on the ground,” that’s not really so hard to do is it?
It’s daily obedience in the seemingly little things that leads us to the bigger tasks. Trust God in what is little today, and then relish the outcome when one day you finally cross your own finish line.