The LORD said, "I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering."
~ Exodus 3:7
I have often struggled with the story of Moses, simply because he went through so much with the Hebrew people, and then because of one way he handled a situation, God did not allow him to cross over into the promised land.
Moses, the boy set afloat in a basket, raised by another mother, then finding out he belongs not to the house of Pharoah, but to the slaves the house of Pharoah rules over. He kills a man, is sent into the desert, manages to survive and then settles into a new way of life with a wife and children, only to climb a mountain, see a burning bush that tells him to return to Egypt and demand the freedom of his people that are still slaves.
After living through every punishment delivered by God to the people of Egypt he is then given the duty of leading the people out of Egypt to the promised land. God even gives Moses the commandments that he must take to these people and tell them that this is the way they must live.
Along the way, after years of listening to the people complain and asking, "Are we there yet?" Moses becomes angry one day and hits his staff against the rock and the next thing you know, God tells Moses that he will never enter the promised land.
Talk about a Biblical "let down."
Moses had endured, and lived with these people through so many hills and valleys, and encountered so many situations. It's not even as if God took the time out to coach Moses and create a plan to help him address what might happen the next time this happens. Instead he is sent walking into a different direction, without those he has been present with, and what many would think to be an unhappy ending.
I don't know if any of us are ready when we are told "No," especially when it is something near and dear to us, or when the person telling us "No," is God.
Years ago I remember praying for a situation to turn out the way I wanted it to turn out. Afterall, I knew everything about the situation, and I knew I had the perfect plan and knew what I felt the outcome should be. I also felt I was the perfect person to take it on. When the rest of the team decided to go a different way, and actually leaving me completely out of the final project, I remember feeling so hurt. In fact, it initially made me really angry. It wasn't until a year later when I was settled into another project that was such a better fit and fulfilled my life even more, that I realized that me being left out of the project was the best thing that could have happened for me.
It's not always easy looking at a door when it closes. It's even harder sometimes to see the open window, but ultimately both will be in the past.
The reality about Moses is that while he may not have crossed into the promised land with the Hebrew people, it is noted that God continued to walk with Moses the remaining days of his life, and that when he died, God buried Moses. (Deut. 34:5-7)
Finding our way through the wilderness of life is filled with many turns and unexpected outcomes, but if we look beyond closed doors, we will see that God is still standing next to us.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2018
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain at Essential Hospice, Webster, Texas, and is an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.