Monday, May 28, 2012
That belief generates huge power
Moses, desperate for proof that his venture would pay off and not end in total disaster, had just asked God, "Why me? What makes you think I could ever go to Pharoah and lead the children of Israel out of Egypt?"
God replies, "I'll be with you, and this will be the proof that I'm the one who sent you. When you have brought my people out of Egypt, you will worship God right here at this very mountain (Mount Horeb)"
My first thought was, That's not proof! It's just crazy. He's fobbing Moses off. The reason it annoyed me is that I was sure it wasn't the sort of response Moses was looking for. If I'd been in Moses' position, my first reaction might have been, What a cop-out. When I studied God's choice of words, I figured out why. When I ask somebody for proof, I prefer it to come before I launch out on a limb risking everything rather than after. When you are offered something which will come down the track as proof, you can never be one hundred percent sure that it will actually materialise, can you?
Taking my life as an example, I know which sort of proof I would have preferred before launching out and printing 2000 copies of my early book, Picking up the Pieces back in 2000. Someone could tell me, "Take-a-Chance bookshop has pledged to buy 1500 straight out and heavily promote them and here's the paperwork already signed," or they could tell me, "Here's the proof. When this book is published, you'll look at the cover and thank God for His help." I would've chosen the first over the second any day. (In fact, I would've even appreciated, "By 2012, you'll have 8 novels published so far, 2 more on the way, the support of a very competent publisher and friend and a network of other like-minded authors you've never even heard of yet." I didn't even get that, but it's all come to pass)
Maybe it all ties in with the saying, "Unbelief says 'I'll believe it when I see it' while true faith says, 'I'll see it when I believe it.'" The more I pondered this, the more it dawned on me that my initial reaction to what God told Moses was faulty. I've seen countless examples from the Bible and life of the way things never seem to work out until we believe with all our hearts that they will. I've also seen the principle backed up by science. The placebo effect is a well-known example. Thousands of people with all sorts of maladies have recovered on sugar pills which they've firmly believed are powerful medications. Christian believers have experienced seemingly miraculous healings and provisions of all kinds when they've trusted with their whole hearts in sayings of Jesus such as, "Anything is possible to the one who believes."
So perhaps God wasn't being mean and stingy when he told Moses that the proof would come after he'd led the people of Egypt. It was a great promise for Moses to hold onto. He could take courage that things would have to go to plan for the people to get to Mount Horeb to worship Him there. Instead of a nasty big brother, nyah nyah, you'll just have to wait, sort of thing, Moses could have taken it as a magnificent promise of grace, which it appears he did, when we read the results. During all those fruitless meetings with stubborn Pharoah, all the plagues and bouts of animosity from his own people, he was able to remind himself, "I know we'll make it out of Egypt because God's given me something to hold onto. We're all going to stand and worship at Mount Horeb. He's promised."
Perhaps the best thing we can do, in the light of all the promises we can find and claim for ourselves in the scriptures we claim to believe, is to actually believe them, in spite of our longing for early evidence. Have I believed that Christian fiction will take off in Australia in the face of bookshops saying, "We're not certain it's worth promoting"? Have I believed that my kids will one day find themselves fulfilling work and supportive spouses? Have I believed that my every need will be supplied for every stage of my life? I'm convinced that if the answer has any traces of, "No, I'm scared," I'll have to get actively onto it and hold tight to the promises I've set my heart to believe.