THE BURNING BUSH

Now I am going to send you to Pharaoh, to demand that he let you lead my people out of Egypt. “But I’m not the person for a job like that!” Moses exclaimed. [Exodus 3:10-11 (TLB)]

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Flame Vine

Things were going well for Moses in Midian: he was happily married, with a family and tending his father-in-law’s sheep. Then God interrupted his comfortable life with a burning bush and a major task: free the Israelites. Moses reacted the way most of us would by questioning God. Who am I to do this? Who do I say sent me? What if they don’t believe me? He then told God he simply wasn’t up to the task. God, not one to be thwarted, responded to all off Moses’ concerns. He would be with him, provide the words, the proof, and even Aaron to do the talking. In short, God promised to provide and Moses obeyed.

God sends all of us burning bush moments that interrupt our comfortable lives. While not history-making assignments like freeing people from slavery, they are, nevertheless, important to the people involved. A few years ago I had a burning bush moment and, like Moses, I questioned God about my ability to respond.

My mother-in-law had suffered a mild heart attack and we were in a treatment room in the local ER. Resting comfortably, she’d been diagnosed and treatment had started. We were simply waiting with her for a hospital room to become available. Suddenly, a young man on a gurney was wheeled past our room. Surrounded by paramedics, an automated CPR machine was pumping on his chest. As doctors and nurses sped past, I said a quick prayer for him. Not much later, I saw a young woman being consoled by a nurse. There was no doubt in my mind that this woman had been married to the man brought in by the EMTs. Clearly, the outcome had not been good; while she’d started the day as a wife, she would be ending it as a widow. This tearful woman was being given papers, directions and some small solace before the nurse turned away. It was a busy night in the ER and other patients called. This was my burning bush moment. Alone in her grief, did she need someone to be with her?

Like Moses, I had questions and excuses. I’m not a grief counselor, what would I say? What if she rebuffed my offer? What if she’s not Christian? Would I have to drive her home? If so, how and when would I get back to the hospital? What if I got sucked into all sorts of family drama? Unlike Moses, however, I didn’t trust God’s provision. In fact, I didn’t even listen for His answers to my questions. While busy thinking about me and pondering various difficult scenarios in my mind, the opportunity passed. When next I looked, the woman was gone.

Unsure of what to do and hesitant to get involved, I should have prayed for God’s guidance. Instead of thinking of all the reasons I wasn’t qualified, I should have trusted His provision. I may have been told to mind my own business or been slightly inconvenienced. I’m a big girl and I could have handled that. Like Moses, I didn’t know what I’d say. It probably wasn’t relevant Bible verses, however, that this woman needed. She just needed God’s love and compassion and I have plenty of that. I could have offered a little help, prayers, sympathy and a shoulder on which she could cry.

Without a doubt, there will be other burning bush moments in my life. I pray that I will respond with an open and trusting heart the next time that happens. Keep your eyes open; there may be a burning bush in your path today. How will you respond?

Among the early difficulties of our early ministry, my brother Charles often said, “If the Lord would give me wings, I’d fly.” I used to answer, “If God bids me fly, I will trust Him for the wings.” [John Wesley]

Help me to do your will, for you are my God. Lead me in good paths, for your Spirit is good. [Psalm 143:10 (TLB)]