Broken places. I keep hearing these two words everywhere I go: church, on-line blogs, social media, friends, books. There are a lot of broken places being exposed. Broken people. Some finding that the broken places are where they meet God and He fills them up, heals those hurts, and grows them. Others feel like they are lying in a dark place where not even the light of the love of God can touch them. I see them there, envision them laying in a dark hole, shattered pieces of their lives scattered around like shards of pots, cracked open and left in the dirt. I see it because I have been there. I have been to the bottom, I have felt the absolute solitude and anger and hurt and despair. I have had my share of broken places, some still broken. And I know how the next words I am about to type can fall on deaf ears- I could not hear at one time too. Your hole is not so deep that God cannot touch you. Your cries do not fall on deaf ears, your hurt is not ignored. Sometimes we have to be laid bare. Like the clay in the potter’s hand, redesigned, crushed and re-worked to something new. It’s not fun, and it is not always pretty. Losing a child just six weeks in the womb, first attempt at life a failure. Her (yes, I believe that baby would have been a girl) due in November. Four years later, that broken place filled with the birth of my first daughter. In November. Her due date was October 31st but she didn’t come until November, the same month that first child would have arrived. 19 years now and I think on the anniversary of when my mother died early in the morning when I was just a child sleeping, unaware. How 15 years and one day later, again in the middle of the night, now fully aware, I give birth to my second son. Life and celebration giving purpose to a month, a week, that I dreaded at the beginning of each year. My most broken places given love, light, hope. Coming full circle in way that cannot be inconsequential, cannot be random. Finding purpose in those broken places- I may have never met my husband had I not have to move when my mother passed, would not be a mother to my own four. The first child lost would have prevented my first son from being born had she survived, my faith would not have been given a wake-up call, I would not have been able to relate to friends and family who have had that same loss. I would have no words for them. But when I look back I can see that it all works out for the good and glory of God. In the midst of it I couldn’t see it. And I still have broken places- fears, anxieties, times I doubt- that I have to trust God will eventually restore. These broken places become places of testimony, a place to seek God out. To build an altar and lay those broken pieces down as a sacrifice. Because honestly what else can we do with them? When we have tried to mend them ourselves or wallowed among them or given them to others to fix and nothing works, and we have nothing left to give, we can give those over. Let them go. As many times as it takes because we want to pick them up again, not trust anyone with them. Not even God. But we can. And when we lay them down at that altar in our hearts- broken as those may be too- and we say, “Here it is” and allow that anger and hurt and despair to bubble up? It comes out and love comes in. God wants to take those broken places, mend them, and fill you up. Let Him in, challenge Him to mend it. It may not be instantaneous, but He is faithful. Trust in His faithfulness. He will pick you up out of that hole, gingerly take each broken shard, and put it back together. And those broken places? They will be stronger than they ever were, like layers of steel forged together. Like clay going through the fire of the kiln. Light pierces all darkness. God mends the broken. Trust in His faithfulness. You who have made me see many troubles and calamities will revive me again; from the depths of the earth you will bring me up again. You will increase my greatness and comfort me again. Psalm 70:20-21
There are so many people of faith to look up to, to aspire to have faith like theirs, to live a bold and courageous life. So often we hear people say they want to be brave like Joshua, bold like Esther, a heart like David, a passion like Paul. And we all know and understand that we each have a personal relationship with God and it is not that we want to be these people, just that we wish we could borrow some of their attributes when we struggle with our own faith. The Bible is full of individuals and there are many that came after that have paved the way for bold living for God and faith in Christ.
And all I can think is I want faith like Moses.
Moses, who did not know who he was, that he was part of a chosen generation and was set apart to bring deliverance to his people. The same Moses that ran away from his sin but was called by name by God Himself, who never made mention of his sins and yet Moses still questioned that God would choose him. The same Moses that did not get to enter into the promise land because of disobedience and taking credit for the miracle God did.
Yeah, that Moses.
It is easy to pick out the negatives in his life, the biggest source of contention being he did not enter the promise land. To see his faults, just like he did when trying to convince God he was not the right person for the job.
But Moses had so much more to offer than his sin and shaded past. His curiosity led him to the burning bush, to an encounter with God. A God he spoke with, that the Bible says answered him by voice (Ex. 19:19), a God Who showed His glory by fire, by smoke, by a cloud, all of which encompass a person. A glory so unbearable Moses was hidden in the cleft of the rock, heard the voice of God like thunder declare His sovereignty as I AM, could only glimpse the back of His glory. Moses saw God. Saw His feet with sapphire stones under them with the “clarity of heaven” (Ex. 24:10). What a beautiful and altogether strange sight to behold.
Moses ate with God, had supper with God Himself (Ex 24:11). What it must have been like to see the glory of God and then to partake in eating with Him!
God gave Moses a glimpse of the promise land, showed him where the Hebrew children were heading. Moses went through it all- from being saved as a child at the risk of drowning in the river to killing a man to facing Pharaoh, a man many thought to be as a god, to leading a fearful and stubborn group of people for forty years and establishing the laws and religion for them as the mouthpiece of God.
And yet, we are so much like Moses. While we may not be wandering the desert literally for forty years, there are dry moments in our faith, where we are parched for the living water and cry out, “How long Lord?” When we take credit when it is not ours. When we question that God would call us to accomplish a task that seems insurmountable to us and we feel ill equipped.
But we too are set apart, a chosen generation in Christ. We too run from our sin only to be called by God to enter salvation through Jesus Christ. A God that has called us by name, has shown us what lays in store for us in eternity and calls us to help show others the way to Him and His Son.
Moses said he stuttered and yet he showed boldness. He set out on a journey that looked impossible just because God told him to and that it would work out. Moses saw God move in ways people had not seen in generations.
I want to see God move. I want to have faith that if God tells me to do something, even if I question it and think I cannot, that I will trust that God will do it simply because He said He would. I want His glory to be revealed in my life. I don’t need signs and miracles but I do believe that living a life for God means that I will see miracles happen, as I know I have seen before, all to testify to His glory. To live a life wide-open, obedient to His calling even if it is not what I had planned-because really what are my plans compared to His?
And in the end? “And He buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, opposite Beth Peor; but no one knows his grave to this day” (Deut. 34:6).
See that “He?” Capital letters. God. God buried Moses. Some say that no one knows where exactly because God caused the earth to quake and it cracked and Moses’ body was buried, or a sand storm blew in and covered his body. But a man that lived so close to God, that ate with Him and spoke to Him and enter into the cloud of his glory? I like to think that the God of Heaven, that formed everything with His mighty word and hand, tenderly lifted that body like an old friend, a man who He loved, and gently buried him with the proper respect due.
“But since then there has not arisen in Israel a prophet like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face” (Ex 34:10).
Face to face.
Faith like Moses to know God face to face. To know that when it is all said and done, God’s hand will carry me home. That His full glory would be revealed and I will see God and worship Him and Him alone. Faith like Moses to know God’s voice speaking to me, to do the hard things and the tedious things and the great and small things because God asked it of me. To live out my faith, to wrestle with it, to lift others up in love and encouragement and show them Jesus.
To be more open so God can move in me and not let my fears keep me from what I was made to do for God, no matter what that looks like. Raising my children. Work. Home. Friends. Family. Church. Missions. Words. Prayer.
All for Him. Through faith in Him.
Faith like Moses.