[And God said] “The cry of the Israelites has now come to me; I have also seen how the Egyptians oppress them. So come, I will send you to Pharoah to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.” But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharoah and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” He said, ” I will be with you.” Exodus 3: 9-12 (NIV)
I once asked confirmation students to paraphrase God’s words from this passage into their own. It was a bit of a leading question, as I kind of hoped they would go in the direction of God’s presence in difficult situations, God not feeding Moses’ ego, God’s persistence, etc.
“Oh come on, Moses. Suck it up and deal.” From their perspective, Moses had already protested quite a bit by this point, and God hadn’t given up. They thought it was time for Moses to just go on and obey, even if he didn’t think he could do all the wonderful/difficult things God asked. It didn’t matter that God never really answered Moses’ question, but just said that he wouldn’t be abandoned in anything.
Despite the challenges of living a Christian life, I love that God takes such an interest in us. We’re imperfect, flawed, stubborn, and rather sheep-like, to use an oft-repeated Biblical metaphor. Yet that said,God still chooses human beings to do His work rather than just directly intervening. In other words,an all-loving, all-creating God who doesn’t just wave a wand and let it be so. He chooses to use humanity in the midst of this work. The ELCA tradition summarizes this well with the slogan “God’s Work:Our Hands.”
Like many faith traditions, there is an emphasis on global connections within the ELCA. The La Crosse area synod, a grouping of 74 congregations where I live, has a particular relationship in connecting with the Lutheran church in Peru. I recently returned from a trip I visiting their congregations with six youth and three other adults. I know I questioned the good I could do on this trip–both before and during. Who am I that I should go? Yet now, hours after returning, I know that God was with our group in all times and all places. I know that he worked through our hands, and for that I am deeply thankful.
I leave you today with a song about how God’s presence through all scary situations and transitions. I invite you to ponder what God is calling you to do, and perhaps in what respects it may be time for you to “suck it up and deal.” I pray that you would be empowered to do His work, knowing He will be with you. Amen.