Don Moen:what is That in your Hands?

Have you ever had a moment or walked through a valley where you felt like you had nothing to offer? Ever felt empty-handed or even empty-hearted? It is those times when you feel completely mortal and totally limited. A place that makes me keenly aware of my utter dependence on the Father. I have been there a lot lately. My vision can be so finite, bound by the limitations of this world that is not eternal. My perspective caught in the constant battle between fear and faith.

I’ve heard the battle of perspective described like a parade. We are only standing at one designated spot on the parade route. We may be able to see to the end of the block but cannot see around the corners, the twists and turns along the 2 mile route in the middle of city buildings. Fortunately, God has plotted the route, sees it from beginning to end, accounts for closed streets, sharp turns, and weather conditions. He is not surprised. A hard concept to wrap my mind around. So what do we do with our short-sightedness?

Exodus 4 picks up after God has revealed his plan to Moses of saving the Israelites from Egyptian captivity. And He will do it using Moses.

Then Moses said, “What if they will not believe me or listen to what I say? For they may say, “The LORD has not appeared to you.” The LORD said to him, “What is that in your hand?” And he said, “A staff.” Then He said, “Throw it on the ground.” So he threw it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from it. But the LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand and grasp it by its tail”–so he stretched out his hand and caught it, and it became a staff in his hand– ”that they may believe that the LORD, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.”

It seems to me that Moses is feeling empty-handed, sure he has nothing to offer. But it is the first question the Lord asks that hits home with me. “What is that in your hand?” He does not mock Moses in his fear and doubt. He is not incredulous, not thinking “Oh my, I hadn’t thought of that before, you’re right! They probably won’t believe you, whatever shall we do?!” Instead he asks Moses a simple, obvious question. Had I been Moses, I might have been a bit confused. Well, it’s a staff of course, what does that have to do with the crisis at hand??

But the point is that the Lord was reminding Moses that it is the I AM, the Lord God Almighty that is working in and through him. All He asks for is what we have! What is in your hand Don? And I think, what, this old thing? This everyday piece of normal life? YES. That. He wants to use it for His glory. Here comes the perspective again. Our God sees things differently. The humble, the lowly, the “normal” can be extraordinarily miraculous in the hands of our God.

So be encouraged today. He is not surprised by our circumstances. He is asking to use what we already have. He can see the whole parade. Let’s use what He has given us to give back to Him today!

– Don


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