So God appears to Moses in a burning bush. You know the story. So do I. I’ve read it, told it, or heard it more times than I could count. I read it again this week, and this part jumped out at me.
But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” He said, “But I will be with you, and this shall be the sign for you, that I have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.” (Exodus 3:11-12 ESV)
Moses was scared. He was confused. And he was pretty sure God had chosen the wrong guy. So God gives him a promise and a sign. The promise is that He will be with him.
Notice what the sign is. When the people have come out of Egypt, they will meet back up on this mountain and worship God together. This is the sign given to Moses so he will know that God is truly calling him. Did you catch that? Basically God tells Moses that when the job is done and he successfully leads the people out of Egypt, then he will know God called him to this task. Just being honest here, but that is not the kind of sign I would be looking for, and it doesn’t seem like the kind Moses was looking for either (keep reading through chapter 4).
But often that is the sign we get.
God calls us to walk by faith. He calls us to take risks. He calls us to leave comfort, family, hometowns, fishing nets, and all kinds of things behind and follow him. And maybe part of the call is that we will only know that it was really Him when we get there. Wherever “there” might be.
This is one of the reasons the Christian life is a great adventure. As we follow we don’t always see, but when we arrive we look back and see how clearly and powerfully He was with us all along.
As I think about this story, I immediately thought of our iGo students. Hearing God’s call at Super Summer or Falls Creek they apply to go. I bet a lot of them still have doubts even after the acceptance letter arrives in the mail. In fact I know they do because we have a number who drop out every year after being accepted. Then God sends all the money they need at just the right time to meet every deadline and cover their cost. Maybe that’s a sign. You will know He called you to this when you send in that last payment and worship Him for providing for your trip.
I also think about all my risk-taking, fishing net abandoning friends. We have so many friends and former students serving overseas after buying one-way tickets to the ends of the earth. I have other friends who have planted churches in difficult places like New York, Vancouver, and Idaho. They followed Him to those places knowing that He was with them. That, of course, is always good to know. And the sign that He was really and truly calling them to this crazy adventure will come at some point. When He has gathered a people for himself in those places and they worship Him together, that will be an amazing sign.
I have to mention iGo Global. 10 years ago this seemed like a good idea. We knew God was with us. We thought He was calling us, but we sure could have used a clear sign. Don’t get me wrong. There have been some amazing signs all along the way. He has been faithfully with us. However, this year, when we celebrated 10 years of making Him famous–now that was a sign. He really did call us to this. He really was with us from the very beginning and throughout every step of the journey. He really is with us as we head into the next ten and beyond. His signs are so good, and truthfully they come at just the right time. Always.
So what is God calling you to in 2011? You don’t need a burning bush to hear Him these days. You have His word. Is He calling you to go global, plant a church, give more, lead your family, share with a friend, or take some other step of obedience? He is with you. And he might just be waiting to give you a sign. Waiting for you to put down the nets and get behind him on the road. Warning: If you fail to be obedient, you may miss the sign he had for you. You may miss the chance to make much of Him on the mountain. I pray you won’t miss it. I pray that you will follow Him trusting that He is with you, believing He has called you, and anticipating the time when he makes His calling clear and you worship Him on that mountain.
Walk by faith. Not by sight.