Sunday, May 8


“However, I have let you live for this purpose: to show you My power and to make My name known in all the earth.” [Exodus 9:16 HCSB]

The complexities of life sometimes overwhelm me and the simplicity of ‘waiting’ on the Lord becomes a painful reminder of how unworthy and inadequate I am for any cause or purpose that He’d put into my fragile and weak hands to carry. In every aspect of my life, every bump and resultant bruise that happens along the bumpy road of this journey, there is struggle and painful realizations of how accurate the ol’ song is “If it weren’t for bad luck……”

I’ve come to realize just how broken and lost my life before Christ had become, not by some simple measuring stick that I’ve come across in the Bible but as I’ve faced the situations that have left me grasping for air, struggling for understanding and agonizing over the feelings of being left behind again. As I face on a daily basis that major wound of community, with which I’ve been told I’ll never be able to find acceptability of my purpose within the family…..I’ll forever be the crazy old uncle or brother or friend who runs on the outskirts of the family muttering crazy things no one listens to.

Gone are the illusions of those who spoke edification into my life as if deranged themselves about me being some mighty leader on the front lines with lines of faithful standing with and behind me as I race over the hilltop screaming the battle cry “For My God and King!” (yes, someone actually said that to me years ago….) Gone are the assurances that sometime, in God’s time, such realized purpose will suddenly burst upon the landscape of this world like an atom bomb… a revolution of the Gospel speaking salvation into lives once as broken as mine. What I once saw my life as, not as completely in that moment of this imagined call as it had morphed and developed over time, is not what I now see my life becoming.

A friend of mine sent me a post via that great social media called Facebook all the way from the country of England (known as Great Britain or ‘our cousins across the pond’ in some circles). It’s not Mother’s day over there in the enlightened lands of the Brits…..but I digress. I’ll just print what the ‘gist’ of the post was:

“[Message] was on "If we are humble": Shepherds were detested by Egyptians; Moses, having been raised as Egyptian would have known that his kind didn't become one, became shepherd for 40 yrs, during which time he may have thought his being used by God wasn't really going to happen; God was teaching and developing Moses to be humble in tough times so he could be used in later good times.....”

No, I don’t suddenly see myself as a modern-day Moses…..born into slavery and sneaked into royalty until the realization of his birthright drove him to ‘connect’ with his ethnicity in quite the wrong way and he suddenly became a fugitive from both cultures after 40 years of the ‘good life.’ For one, I can’t recall ever having the ‘good life’ (though I am sure there are some who would dispute this fact with me…..) and I definitely screwed up my life well before my 40th year.

But Moses fled and spent the next 40 years in the wilderness tending the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian around the wilderness of Horeb (the mountain of God). A Shepherd, something the Egyptians despised (at least according to one pastor), is the very thing that Moses became…..apparently without argument or fight. He marries, has a son and doesn’t even have his own wealth….rather he protects and nurtures the wealth of another, his father-in-law, for 40 years. A royal, trained to lead a nation and educated in the methods of the time, puts his staff in front of him and pulls his body along after the sheep. Hard times? Indeed…..hard times that become so commonplace that he doesn’t recognize the hardships anymore.

I have come to learn the purpose of family by the hard road of having treated my family so loosely that I didn’t seek a covenant marriage in which to grow one…..I am blessed with three great kids; one of whom I have just been back in contact with since he was twelve (he’s now sixteen) and two who are living with me, struggling with the broken family that such foolishness of my actions caused. The ignorance of the Gospel only serves as a excuse and not a very valid one at that.

I have come to realize the power of intimate relationship in the brokenness of the many I thought I had before; where I thought I was a contributor and not a destroyer. Where, with God as the true center, there is glorious blessing and where God is put into a makeshift temporary shelter, disaster strikes as you try to make blessings of your own manufacture. The reflections of my earthly relationships have driven holes into the shallow relationship that I have with my Heavenly Father. I have come to realize the truthfulness of the trio of a relationship being sacrosanct….you, the other person and God. I have also realized that I’ll never open the door to that possibility again…..some things are best left in the rearview mirror of our departure, for everyone’s sake. Some would call me a coward, but I realize some wounds will never heal and if they cannot be identified…..the soundest course of action is inaction.

I have seen the good and bad of community, both within the larger context of the universal family of God and in the smaller context of earthly communities where I have spent my time as a resident and an outsider. I see how hard it is for that community to break from the stagnate stillness of the protective walls of its ‘society’ and I’ve seen the harshness that comes from the ‘inbreeding’ that takes place when such a community is so isolated. I have seen communities who struggle successfully despite disadvantages and achieve the type of fellowship that God intended for His bride and be brutally attacked by the world and even other Christians, myself included. Of course, I am one of those who wander in and out of community because my opinions have been said with the intentionality of murder, like Moses and the overseer while others have been because there are those who wonder by what authority I proclaim what I do……like Moses and the Israelites in captivity.

I realize that my life, wrought with pain and trials and suffering and sorrows, has not been worthless or in vain…….the very pain in my joints and the brokenness of my mind have existed because of the road I once walked and that beckons me from over the treetops of this path is nothing more than part of the journey I have been on since I was first gasping for breath in the harsh light of this cold, cruel world…….

We tend to look to God and expect as He has performed open heart surgery that we will recover quickly and completely… creatures who simply skip through this world with joy, joy, joy in these newly beating hearts with nar a sorrow to revisit. We find rather quickly that some of us are born for the adversity and others for the nobility of our Father’s kingdom. Some will struggle forever and some will find healing in the morning light.

Saint or Sinner. Noble or Shepherd.

All serve His purpose.

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