My morning prayer and meditation time is a bit fluid. The first rush of words are written: black fine felt tip Papermate marker pen and journal, day, date, and time of entry, all to begin with Dear Abba. While in prayer I get inspired ideas, which I write on a nearby sticky note. For years I fought it as distraction, but it was not. I now follow the idea for all I see and hear in the moment and then continue in prayer.
Every five years I have major life turning points. When I say life, I mean more than circumstance. I mean wholly… like, my whole life… gets a thorough review and supernatural nudge. Some things I feel coming on, and ponder for months and years before “arriving” to an understanding. Other things are nagging, like Holy Spirit insisting on keeping his finger on what needs to change.
This morning, I had a thought that these turning point moments are comparable to the experience of Moses and the burning bush. We can forget that among our regrets and our attempts to keep moving forward, God still keeps track of us. Moses ran into hiding after killing the Egyptian and started a new life. It was quiet. He was now a shepherd. And in the process of keeping sheep — remember, moves of God happen in the process of things — Moses had a visit from an angel.
Out of the flame that was burning the bush, an angel appeared. Moses turned aside to see the marvel of a burning bush that was not being consumed by the fire. Out of this strange and curious sight Moses hears God speak: He calls Moses by name, commands Moses to take his shoes off, and declares this space holy ground. Isn’t this an AMAZING way to get an introduction from God? We may not admit it, but it’s what we want — burning bushes, a thundering voice, a big display of power, in a special sacred place. I’d like to think I would be so in awe and impressed, but I am certain I would be freaking out!
DEFINING MOMENTS — Burning bush moments define us. They are a kind of progress report on who we are, how we have grown, and where God intends us to go. They come with context. Finally, there is some wisdom gained, experience understood, and real growth. A new line in the sand gets drawn and we are invited to cross over into the next new stage of life.
ILLUMINATION — I think of the fire consuming the burning bush as a great light, almost like flood lights or stadium lights today. Of all the things God can say to me, He chooses to call me to an assignment. Like the flame, he lights up my life with a consuming desire to follow him, obey him, let him reinvent me, and bring him glory through serving others. He assumes leadership of my life when I take off my shoes, and he changes me in the experience. (Taking off my shoes says I am willing to be here, and hear more. I agree that this time and space are holy.)
EXPIRATION — Suddenly, my preoccupation with who I was is over. The obsession with my mistakes and the harassment of my regrets are gone. I am seen by God after a confusing and chaotic season. He calls me by name. He still know me. And when he speaks, we are not starting over, but continuing, and moving ahead together.
God did not appear to Moses to address the dead Egyptian, the new life, or the shepherding of sheep. God showed up to call Moses into service and back to Egypt, but as a different man. This is what my prayer time was like, me realizing that while I go about my life, have my struggles, and pray about my needs, God needs me to serve others in a greater mission.
Bereans, there are moments and there are moments. My prayer is that we embrace the burning bush moments and allow God to call us into bold fresh starts. You can read about Moses and the burning bush in Exodus 3-4. In chapter 4, Moses has concerns. Moving from quiet isolation to a public voice for God and champion for a nation would unsettle us too, I think. The beauty is God answers, provides support, and Moses goes.
For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.1 Corinthians 3:9 ESV
To know God and make him known is our mission. We do not act alone. We are not alone, never mind all the messages our feelings send to convince us otherwise. We are in partnership with God; and he is the senior in our agreement. We work with him, and burning bush moments are a chance for him to reach us, call us, and send us. Let’s take off our shoes and hear the offer. Let’s share our concerns and have God hear them. Let’s take courage for what is next. Selah.
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"In the darkness of night, I wait expectantly for understanding and knowledge for your people."
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