|The initial fervor subsided. You have farther to go than you thought. And the going has gotten tougher. You realize that you’re not even half-way, and you’re in trouble. Panicking?|
Perhaps you’re in a leadership position. So many people depend on you. Moses felt that weight. First the exodus from Egypt. The mountaintop experiences were definitely a high. But after receiving the Instructions and completing the work, the desert still stretched out ahead. The children of Israel are dependent on Moses, who takes it up with God.
“Did I conceive all these people? Did I give birth to them, that you would say to me, ‘Carry them at the breast, as a nurse carries an unweaned child,’ to the fertile land that you promised their ancestors?” Numbers 11:12 (CEB)
Moses’ metaphor startles me. From conception to childbirth to breastfeeding. Intimate. Physical. Bloody. Life-sucking. Heavy. He puts it back on the Lord. Your people. You said to me. You promised them.
And the Lord responds. Lightens the load, spreads out the Spirit, distributes the work. Because indeed, there is a long way yet to go. Really, Moses is just getting started, though it is probably good that he doesn’t know that yet. He relies on his relationship with God. That is what got him into this position, and that is what will sustain him day in and day out.
Which reminded me of Peter yesterday, as I listened to him ask the Lord to instruct him to step out of the boat. What gave Peter that idea? In a storm with a seeming apparition of Jesus that set the disciples screaming. But Peter wanted to be closer to Jesus. To step out in faith.
And Jesus said, “Come.”
Then Peter got out of the boat and was walking on the water toward Jesus. But when Peter saw the strong wind, he became frightened. As he began to sink, he shouted, “Lord, rescue me!” Matthew 14:29-30 (CEB)
The distance to Jesus was farther than Peter expected. He was walking on the water. He got part-way there. But the impulsive faith that initiated those first steps was blown away by the wind. Peter called out in desperation. And Jesus reached out his hand and grabbed him.
As I begin my fourth year pastoring New Covenant, I pause mid-journey to assess. Certainly, I never imagined what this would be. And I depend on the Lord to rescue me when my faith fails. When I look at the wind and the waves instead of Jesus. When the responsibility seems too much, the Lord always provides other people to help shoulder the weight.
I am reminded that the conversation with the Lord- for Moses, for Peter, for you, for me- isthe relationship. Our faith and our fears, and the Lord’s response to us. Today I imagine all these characters (and a few others) on a mountaintop together. Moses talking with Jesus. Peter responding. The voice from the cloud. Jesus was at the part-way point on his journey.
Perhaps you are overwhelmed with the weight of your responsibilities. Maybe the wind is whistling in your ears, and the waves are bigger than you expected. Or your destination is farther than you’d realized. Now is the time to lean into your relationship. Talk to the Lord. Panicking is nothing new. God’s used to it.
May we be unafraid to voice our fears. May we see the people God has provided as our help. May we feel the hand of Jesus holding us up.
Order of Service: 8/4
Sermon: Life’s Rich Measure -Ecclesiastes 2
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