A couple Sunday nights ago, I preached a sermon on Exodus 3*, where Moses meets the Creator of the universe in a burning bush.
I absolutely love this story. I love the life of Moses - his birth, his trip down the river, his upbringing, his flight, his introduction to the God of his fathers, his fear, and (ultimately) his obedience.
But, until last year, my love for this story stopped there. I did not love the part about wandering in the desert for forty years. I did not love the fact that things had to be so hard on God's people, when Moses had been so obedient. I did not love that side of God - the side that would promise His people a home and then make them go through all that before they could "earn" it.
That's the way I thought until last year.
But last year, all that changed because (and this may seem counter-intuitive) last year was a year of disappointment for me. Sure, good things happened. I wasn't depressed or distraught, just... disappointed.
You see, the Lord has given me and hubby some promises, and soon after those promises were given, the opposite appeared to happen. When we had faith for a miracle, we watched our friends suffer as they mourned the death of their wife, daughter, friend, and mother-to-be. When we should have been able to put aside a little nest egg and pay off some debt... our car broke down beyond repair, an A/C unit went out in our home, the plumbing in the front yard had to be replaced - all costing us thousands of dollars that left us further in the hole than when the year began.
And through it all, through my anger, disillusionment, disappointment and, yes, bitterness with the Lord, He continually pointed me back to Exodus 3*.
And through it all, my response to this passage would be, "I don't understand why you keep sending me here. Why is this part of the story so significant?"
One day, in the midst of this year-long conversation, the Lord asked me one question: Why do you love your husband?
After thinking a minute, I decided to go with my gut...
"Well, Lord, I love him because he is funny. He makes me laugh and finds the humor in any situation."
But your brother is funny, and He makes you laugh. Still you don't love him in the same way you love your husband.
"Ok, Lord, I suppose I love him because he's so kind. He's the most tenderhearted person I know, and I love that he cares about other people."
But [so and so] and [so and so] are just as kind, just as tenderhearted. You still don't love them in the same way you love your husband.
And the list went on and on... I named characteristic after characteristic that all cause me to "love" my husband, but each time, my reasoning was found faulty.
Finally, I said, "Lord, I love him because he sacrifices for our family. He is a good provider, Lord, and he works so hard so I can stay home. He works really hard for me and Chloe."
But what if something happened to him and he were completely unable to do any of the things you have just described? What if he is completely debilitated and can no longer hold you or make you laugh or provide for you? Would you love him then?
"Of course, Lord. Of course I would still love him."
Completely flustered at this point (because I was obviously getting this answer wrong), I huffed:
"Because he is. I love him because he exists."
More to come...
*When I posted this entry earlier, I said that the story was found in Exodus 7. My mistake. It is, in fact, found in Exodus 3.