Guest post by Rob Tims
I was in 3rd or 4th grade when I received permission from my parents to ride my bike a few miles in circumference around our home. Up until this point, all of my bikes had been stolen from the back yard (chain or no chain), so we began to keep the bikes inside, usually in the foyer at the front door of the house that nobody used. Whenever I went on a bike ride, I’d wheel the bike out of the front door and barrel down the brick sidewalk and onto First Avenue, which led me anywhere I wanted to go.
Yet there was one moment when I opened the front door and pushed my bike that out of the top right corner of the doorway, a very angry brown wasp flew right at my right eye, intent upon stinging me. I quickly raised my right hand to cover my eye, but the timing of my actions was such that I only trapped the wasp between my hand and my eye, resulting in a nasty few stings around that eye. It took only a few days for the swelling to go down and my pride to return, but to this day, I am intensely afraid of stinging insects.
And mice. Roaches. Snakes. Stink bugs. Spiders. You get the point. I instinctively turn into a 3 year-old when it comes to these things. I’d rather preach unprepared from Hebrews 6 at a mega-church conference than kill a cockroach in my child’s bathroom. And it’s all because of that moment in 3rd or 4th grade.
Moses had the opposite problem.
Promised by God that God would use him to redeem His people and plunder the Egyptians as they left, Moses instinctively doubted as he considered the leadership responsibilities that would be required of him. “They won’t trust me. They won’t listen to a word I say. They’re going to say, ‘God? Appear to him? Hardly (Exodus 4:1)!’” No doubt Moses was thinking about how he had killed that Egyptian guy and how word spread, and how he had to flee to survive, and how his reputation was ruined in Egypt forever. Moses turned into a scared, anxious little boy at the thought of God doing this new thing in him, and it was all because of what happened years ago.
But snakes were not a problem. Therefore, I’m assuming that cockroaches and stinging insects weren’t either. When God turned his staff into a snake and then commanded him to grab the snake by his tail, Moses was not phased. He obeyed willingly and swiftly. I suppose his time as a shepherd exposed him to these sorts of things quite a bit, so it was no challenge for Moses to obey. Therefore, we can also conclude that the experience was of no encouragement to him either as he considered leading the Hebrews out of Egypt through a series of difficult confrontations with Pharaoh. Such an undertaking needed a leader who wasn’t “damaged goods.”
How gracious of God to use those areas of our life where it’s relatively easy to trust Him in order to grow our faith in areas where it’s not. We can’t trust God in areas except those where we are insecure. We must trust God in every aspect of our life, including our insecurities. This happens as He presents opportunities for us to press through them, not around them.
Faith isn’t about our abilities or fears, but our God’s abilities and power. Which is why, when Moses objects to the Lord again, this time appealing to his lack of public speaking skills, God’s says, “And who do you think made the human mouth? And who makes some mute, some deaf, some sighted, some blind? Isn’t it I, God? So, get going. I’ll be right there with you—with your mouth! I’ll be right there to teach you what to say.”
What weaknesses or insecurities do you hold up to God as an excuse not to obey and trust? You are saying more about your faith in Him than you are own limitations. The answer to our insecurities isn’t a God who tells us we aren’t what we say we are, but who tells us who He is when we don’t believe that He is.
Rob Tims is husband to Holly and father to Trey, Jono, Abby Jane and Luke. He’s the author of Southern Fried Faith: Confusing Christ and Culture in the Bible Belt, and manages the team behind smallgroup.com at LifeWay Christian Resources in Nashville. He writes regularly at RobTims.com and blogs every Friday at Forward Progress.