Daunting Challenges and the Undaunted God

Nothing has the potential to paralyze a person more than the fear of the unknown. Challenges that lie ahead impel us to take inventory of our resources to meet them. And all too often, we find them grossly inadequate.
Such was the case of Moses at the burning bush (Ex 3). It was then that God informed this shepherd-in-exile that he would be the divinely-ordained leader of his people. It’s hard not to read in the rest of the story when we encounter this passage. After all, we already know about David and Solomon, the divided kingdom and the prophets, and the exile and return of the nation. But at that moment in time, Moses had no idea how he could possibly convince Pharaoh to let Israel go, much less how he could lead the people across hundreds of miles to the Promised Land. So it was perfectly natural for him to ask, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (v. 11).

Our resources seem so small in comparison to the challenges that lie before. Whether rearing children who love and worship God, teaching Scripture faithfully week-in and week-out, or meeting our bosses’ goals in the timeframe they expect, we look within and see little that would give us confidence that we can rise to the challenge.

Even while writing this post, I was interrupted by a person who unveiled a daunting challenge that lies before me. And when I look within, all I can say is, “There’s no way. I don’t have the time to deal with this. I don’t have the wisdom to handle it. I don’t even have the desire to do it.”

And with that assessment God agrees. The Lord did not remind Moses of the latter’s unusual upbringing or his amazing intellect or his years of experience. God instead pointed Moses to himself: “I will be with you” (v. 12). God never directs us to look within. He instructs us to look up and away to him. What gives me hope in the face of daunting challenges is the presence of the One who is undaunted. And, knowing my propensity to doubt, he assures me of his ongoing presence. The resources are not within. But with us is the One whose wisdom, power, knowledge, goodness, and love are infinite, eternal, and unchanging.

Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light,
nor wanting, nor wasting, Thou rulest in might.

-Walter Chalmers Smith

He lacks nothing, he squanders nothing. And he is forever with us. This God is ours.

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