Ever said something along those lines? Maybe you’re asked to speak publicly, and you don’t feel comfortable with that. Or maybe what someone is asking you to do would be a major risk to the way you live your life. Or maybe you don’t think it’s possible for you to serve in that way, because it’s never been done before.
Girlfriend, nothing is impossible in Christ. You must remember this. You can do anything and everything that is required of you—if you are truly in Christ (Philippians 4:13).
Just like your physical body has muscle groups that are stronger than others because of the work you do, your soul has strengths, too: those are your spiritual gifts. You know how to use them, and you do it often. But sometimes God pushes on those tender, weak spots, because he knows it’s time to target them for strengthening.
Moses knew his weaknesses, and he absolutely did not want to strengthen them. God spoke directly to him, had a big job for him, and Moses said no.
Okay, put yourself here: you see something on fire—yikes. But it’s not disintegrating from the fire—weird. You go closer to check it out. Then the bush speaks. Wait, what?? That’s right, a voice comes from the burning bush, and it says your name. Barely able to get the words out for your fear and confusion, you stutter, ‘h-here I am.’
Then this voice goes on to explain that it has come down from heaven to save your people from slavery, and you are the person who will do this. What do you say?
I think I would agree to whatever this bush told me to do, and then run away as fast as I could! But not Moses. He is apparently thinking a little more clearly than I would have been.
He says, “Who am I to do this, Lord?” So God assures him, “I’ll be with you. Here’s the plan.” He lays it all out. But still Moses continues this argument with the talking, burning bush. “What if they don’t believe me?” he asks.
So God gives Moses the power to perform miracles, so that the Israelites will believe him. God even shows the miracles to Moses right then and there, so maybe Moses will believe. But he still doesn’t think he’s the right man for the job.
Unlike me, Moses speaks slowly. Unlike me, who would have immediately agreed to the job this talking, burning bush is giving me, Moses thinks it over. He puzzles it out, questioning the burning bush in his slow, plain way. His third objection is that he cannot speak well; he never has. God says, “Don’t worry about it; I’ll give you the words to say.”
So let’s see, Moses now has the knowledge of God’s plan, the power to perform miracles, and the ability to speak with eloquence. But he still says no. Moses flat-out does not want this job. “Can’t you find someone else?” he asks.
This is when God gets mad. I don’t know what this looks like, but God is already speaking to Moses through a bush that’s on fire. I imagine an explosion of flames, and his voice booming out from the inferno.
I know you’ve never had an experience like this—have you? God no longer appeals to us in the dramatic ways He did in the Old Testament: talking donkeys, burning bushes, raining fire from heaven, and the like. But He’s the same God. He still has an extremely important job for you. God already prepared them for you; you just have to walk in them (Ephesians 2:10).
I think Moses’ story tells us that if someone asks you to do a particular job, this could be God calling. Sure, ask a few questions, but consider that God’s angels often appear as humans (Hebrews 13:2, Genesis 18). Maybe the person is an angel of God, sent to give you your sacred work. Or maybe it’s a Christian, inviting you to join the body of Christ.
How do you know if this job is one you should take? It must be something that is indisputably good. It might be huge and impossible and completely beyond your realm of experience and interest, but if it is good, and someone is asking you to do it, God is telling you that you can handle it. I love this verse from James that holds us accountable for doing something when we see a need: “Whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, to him it is sin” (James 4:17).
What if there’s a job that you would like to do, but you’re afraid that you can’t? That’s probably how Deborah, the only female judge of Israel, felt. We don’t know if she wanted her job or not, or how she felt about it once she got it, but we do know that she was the only woman to serve in that role, and that she herself led the Israelites into a battle that they won (Judges 4). Don’t think that just because you’ve never seen someone like you do the right thing, that it can’t be done. If it’s the right thing to do, you must do it.
How do you know if it’s the right thing? Seek out the wisdom of Scriptures, the counsel of the wise, and pray to God. These steps will lead you to the truth, and your job, whether you like it or not.
Eleanor Roosevelt said, “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” She should know: as a rich young lady, she went into the slums of New York City to educate the poor.
Your burning bush will be scary. But look that fear in the face. If you’re given a job that you think is too big, or not right for you, rejoice. You’ve just received your impossible job. And God’s glory will burn through you.