Lately, I’ve been struggling internally. Feeling kinda like maybe God’s just going to get tired of putting up with me, like I’m too disobedient, too rebellious, too selfish, and the ax is just going to fall.
Truth is, I know this isn’t the way He is, but the temptation to believe all this junk is still palatable. If He was like that, He never would have taken me into His family to start with… I was about as big of a wreck as a human ever could be. Still, I know my own sinfulness, and I know all about His holiness, and I know that they simply don’t match up. He deserves so much more than I give. More than I am or ever will be.
Right in the middle of this fierce temptation, my sweetie-pie husband sent me this quote: “When satan starts to remind you of your past, you remind him of his future, and he will leave you alone real quick!” (David Jeremiah). Hmmm. Good thought.
But the problem is that I could preach to myself all day and night about who God is, the One that redeems, the One that loves us all the way to the Cross, but what about who I am? I am still pretty messy and sinful.
This morning, I pulled back the leather cover of the best of Books, to the 3rd chapter of Exodus. I only made it 6 verses into a well-loved story, before I had to close the Book that God wrote and pick up my own journal.
The Story goes like this: Moses, once living in a palace in Egypt, now living in the land of Midian, shepherding his father-in-law’s sheep along the side of Mount Horeb, suddenly catches sight of something bewildering… a bush, burning, yet not being consumed. God caught his attention, told him to kick off his shoes because this was holy ground. And then He tells him something spectacular…
“I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” (Ex. 3:6)
He tells him two things in one fell swoop. He tells Moses who Moses is and He tells him who God is! He reminds Moses that he is a Hebrew. He may have been raised by Pharaoh’s daughter, in a palace in Egypt, but his blood-roots are with the people of God, those slaves whom God wanted to liberate.
And He tells Moses that He is the same God who was faithful to guide, protect and love his ancestors. His ancestors, those three men of victorious faith! Those three men who were given a promise of an inheritance. And God plans to make good on His promise. He always does!
This passage stunned me, because it reminded me that all my doubting about His affection for me boils down to an identity crisis. I needed reminded of my own identity.
This exclamation of identity (both God’s and Moses’) was the opening statement of his life-calling for Moses. God was planning on using this vagabond misfit to lead His chosen people out of slavery and into the abundance of His promises towards them. Into freedom.
So often, we grope around looking for purpose and calling and something to make us feel important. But what we really need is identity. Purpose is born out of identity. We find out that God wants to use us, but first we have to discover that He loves us. HE LOVES US! We are foul and stenchy and obnoxious and just like Moses, we’ve ran away from our problems and sought our own vindication. And we’ve made mess after mess out of our own lives. But if we are His, we are given a name, an identity, a family. Moses wasn’t told who he was, alone, he was told about the legacy that He is being woven into. Moses was chosen. He belonged.
He might have felt like a gypsy. No home. No real family. He was a Hebrew slave’s son, raised by the princess of Egypt, and now he was a runaway, hiding out in the deserts of Midian, but God sought him and found him and breathed identity into his chaotic, confused soul. In essence, He told him, “You belong to a lineage of saints that I have chosen to be my own people. I am the God who has been faithful to generations, and continues to be. To your ancestors.”
Here my soul rests. I am found free. I may feel like a vagabond wanderer at times, fearful that God is just going to up and leave me, because I’m such a fouled-up excuse of a human. Like my roots are all exposed and maybe shriveling up. And then I remember that He is the God who has been faithful. Faithful even to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (and if you want to read their stories and how they were also straight-up pathetic at times, then you can find their scandals splattered throughout the book of Genesis). But God is unchanging. And sometimes we just need Him to come alongside us in our doubt and struggle and remind us of who we are. We are His! We are beloved. And we have Family in Him!