Last week, my daughter left a Starbuck’s apron hanging in her bedroom closet, loaded every crevice of her car with suitcases, shoes, and meaningful trinkets, pulled out of an apartment parking lot in North Carolina, and pushed pavement west until she reached Phoenix, Arizona.
That was last week but it was also thirty years ago.
During an epic winter snowstorm in Oklahoma, I left a Bennigans apron at my mother’s house and while my CRX idled, I scraped ice off the windshield with idealism. I wasn’t about to allow a little power outage or compromised tree limbs breaking like glass on concrete, ruin a yes from God on a new hopeful chapter.
Trunk loaded with all my worldly possessions, I pulled away slowly from the quiet, deserted street of my childhood. Fueled by romanticism because I’m a 4 on the enneagram. Those of you who get that are now smiling with clarity.
I met H in Phoenix two years later.
Before you call me brave (or stupid!), let me tell you that I identify with Moses and all his excuses. My prayerful conversations leading to that grand adventure sounded more like doubt than faith.
I’m the wrong person for a risky adventure. I don’t like change or unpredictable outcomes.
I’m not ready, I don’t have a job, place to live, or enough money to support myself.
I might fail. Then what will I do?
I’m not qualified. You need someone with more experience in transitions.
Perhaps this plan is better suited for someone who is risk averse.
And God said, “I believe in you.”
Though that risky decision worked out for my good, I still find myself echoing Moses when I’m faced with new challenges. “You tell me, ‘I know you well and you are special to me.’ If I am so special to you, let me in on your plans. That way, I will continue being special to you.” Exodus 33:15-16, MSG
We assume favor with God means all the details of life fall simply into place. A comfortable life equals achieving insider status.
But more than knowing how the future will look, God desires relationship. He knows your name and you have this assurance: “My presence will go with you. I’ll see the journey to the end.”
Become certain that you are loved, and life is a secure adventure into uncertainty.
Maybe what you sense God is leading you to do sounds ridiculous, irrational, and foolish to people. Like driving through an ice storm with empty pockets to live in a city you’ve never visited before.
Perhaps you are petrified by the what-ifs like Moses, crying alone in the wilderness, “If your presence doesn’t take the lead here, call this trip off right now.”
What makes you special? What makes you distinctively set apart? What makes the fear of uncertainty a thing of the past? Believing God’s presence is with you.
My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest. Exodus 33:14, ESV
We are the most vulnerable when we forget to rest in God’s love; when we forget that Jesus is our steadfast travelling companion through the unknowns of life.
I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The Lord.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live. Exodus 33:19-20, ESV
We want to know the end before we can truly live, but God keeps knowledge hidden that might actually become the end of us.
As we begin the penitent season of Lent, let’s risk for the sake of love, sacrifice for deeper relationship and surrender fear of uncertainty for the goodness of His will. May we arrive on Easter like Moses, certain of God’s faithfulness, favor, and abundance when we look back and see where He was in our midst.
Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen. Exodus 33:21-23
Last year, I published A Sabbath Journey for Lent: Sacrifice a Day for Rest and Experience the Sacrifice of Christ Anew. The eBook is available to blog subscribers as a free download through the Lenten season. My prayer is that the weekly devotional will help you to incorporate a sustainable rhythm of rest long after Easter.
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