I love the stories of Biblical characters because in them we find God’s grace in action. They are real, often gritty, have issues, failures and questions but God uses them in amazing ways. One such story is that of Moses, one of the towering figures in the Old Testament and one of the most ordinary of human beings to ever live. That his ordinariness could be used in extraordinary ways is all grace! The kind of grace that God extends to every one of us.
You remember the setting well. Pharaoh is fearful that the Israelites are becoming too numerous so he subjugates them to a life of slavery. In addition, he tells the midwives to kill all the male babies that are born to keep the population down. Their response is to claim that the babies are born before they can get there and refuse to carry out his order. So Moses is born, put in a reed basket and just happens to be found by Pharaoh’s daughter and just happens to become an adopted member of their family. The child born to be a slave is instead raised in a Palace.
Now that may sound like a good deal to us but it caused all kinds of issues for Moses. He knew who he actually was. He knew he did not deserve the palace. He knew he was now living in a family that was keeping his own people in subjugation. He knew that he should do something but didn't know what or how until one day when he was forty he took matters into his own hands, killed an Egyptian who was beating a Hebrew and had to run for his life.
Think about Moses situation. He had identity issues. He had anger issues. He was a felon on the run from the law. His life should have been one of slavery but it was the palace instead. Now he has lost everything and is a homeless guy. He had a deep sense of righteousness and justice but it all went wrong. If there was Prozac back in the day, Moses would have been on it. If there was anger management class back in the day Moses would be in it. This was not how life was meant to turn out.
Have you ever felt that way? Life didn't turn out the way it was supposed to? Life isn't fair? Did you ever think when you were young that you would still be struggling with the stuff you struggle with today? I thought when I grew up, that stuff would be gone but like Moses, we still carry a lot of issues around. Like him, we are profoundly human and profoundly flawed by sin. Like him our desire for justice and righteousness is often disappointed. We know we are on God’s side of many issues but we still end up with the short straw like Moses did. And like him we wonder why.
Moses had every right to wonder where God was in this equation, just as we do. What he could not see and what we often don’t see is that God is not limited by our failures, sin or situation. In fact, he is the only one who can take every failure, setback, and situation and redeem it for his purposes. That is grace. That is God.
Life is not the series of random events that it often seems to be. In each of our lives there is an unseen hand that is weaving a tapestry that on the back side which we see is jumbled and messy and hard to figure out but on the front side which we will see in eternity is beautiful and exquisitely woven, the colors perfect, the lines impeccable. We see the back side in all of its chaos but God sees the front in all of its beauty. That was what God was doing in Moses’s life and that is what he is doing in our lives.
Think about Moses biography: It was the very biography that would enable him to carry out his greatest assignment, the deliverance of his people from Egypt. His palace experience gave him insight into how to deal with the Pharaoh. His experience with injustice gave him empathy for his people. His failures made him rely on God rather than on himself. In every way, his biography became the foundation for what God eventually called him to do.
What Moses did not realize was that God was going to take his whole biography, his birth that should have been death, his palace experience and training, his sense of injustice at the Egyptians and even his profound sense of inadequacy and use it for his purposes to bring the people out of Egypt.
Consider your journey and your biography. I am sure it did not go as you thought. I am sure that like me you have regrets. I am sure we have all experienced pain. But remember this. It is the grace of God that none of our biography is ever wasted. God takes it all and redeems it all for his purposes. That is grace. That is our God.