It seemed I’d just begun my 90 day experience when I found myself in the midst of the story of Moses. The Egyptian captivity of God’s “chosen people” had been one of those lingering questions in my mind that I’d never taken the time to contemplate. I thought I was missing something about why the Hebrews had ended up in captivity. Abraham had obeyed, Isaac was faithful, Jacob messed up but seemed to be on good terms with God, and his sons had sold Joseph into slavery, but within that whole story, I find no good reason why the entire nation of Abraham would find itself in such bondage.
I’m not sure the reason is important. Perhaps sometimes in life things happen. Jesus himself did not take any “free passes” or have a divine hand to protect him from the suffering of this world. I wonder if that is what we need to understand. God’s blessing, God’s choosing, is not some special dispensation or ticket to a trouble free life. God’s blessing, first handed down to Abraham was intended to begin redemption of the world. So we don’t get a free pass from suffering.
Jesus said in the gospel of John that “in this world we will have trouble.” The Hebrews found themselves in trouble, and God provided.
The lesson of Moses that is most important to me is the lesson that no matter who I am or where I find myself, my identity is rooted in God. When called by God, Moses asks “Who am I” to lead my people out of Egypt. God’s response—“I am with you.” Moses’ tragedy was this, he did not enter the Promised Land. The reason? He failed to recognize that God was with him and he took matters into his own hands, trusting his own wisdom and experience. This was the failure of the Hebrews he had led from captivity as well. Rather than entering the Promised Land as commanded, they relied on their own experience and understanding of the world, they forgot that they have no identity apart from God and because of this they found themselves wandering.
When I find myself lost and wandering in this life, that is usually the reason. I’ve placed too much faith in myself, and when life gets tough, or the road ahead seems too long or rough for me to travel. So I set out on my own course with no direction, lost and alone. Until I turn and realize—“I am with you.”