Every time I read Exodus 2, from childhood to today, butterflies of anticipation take flight in my stomach: Here comes the part when the Levite woman hides her baby among the reeds!…Here’s the part when Pharaoh’s daughter sees the child!…Here’s the part when Moses kills an Egyptian and has to flee!… It’s as if I had never read the verses before as if Exodus 2 (specifically verses 23-25) act like a drumroll in a song that is leading up to the stories of the burning bush and the staff becoming a snake in chapter 3.
Verses 23-25 tell us that while Moses is shepherding his father-in-law’s sheep, the Israelites are crying out to God for deliverance. The author sets up the story in such a way that the drumroll grows louder and faster as the reader eagerly anticipates the upcoming sudden silence signaling the unveiling of Moses’ next adventure.
Life is full of these drumroll moments. God is conducting the drums in our lives to play faster and louder as he draws us nearer to a climactic moment in our lives. In these times of testing, or of uncertainty, God is preparing us for our next mission and strengthening us to walk faithfully with Him.
However, all too often we want to skip the fanfare entirely and instead arrive immediately at our next stage in life. We trick ourselves into thinking our interpretation of the song is greater than God’s version.
As a senior at Dordt College who will receive her diploma tomorrow (Lord willing), I find that in my own life I am often impatiently waiting for the drumroll to stop. I want to move on to the next stage in life, to defeat my uncertainties and have a clear grasp of my future without having to deal with the anticipation of the unknown. In short, I want to control the tempo of my life—and when I can’t do that, I am unsettled.
Looking at the drumroll in verses 23-25 that lead up to Moses’ life-changing encounter with God, I notice a distinction between our situations. In Moses’ case, he did not anticipate the Lord working in his life in such a drastic way. In my case, worry is at the heart of my anticipation as I’m waiting to see what God’s plan is for my life, and I am frustrated that I can’t see far enough into the Creator’s score to know when the drumroll will halt and the action will begin. I worry about finding a job and then proving my capabilities once I’m in the door. I worry about saying goodbye to the dear friends I’ve made over the years, and I worry that I won’t see most of them again. I worry about the health of family members, the hardships of friends, and the well-being of church members.
Then, ironically enough, I worry that I worry too much.
One theme connects all my worries: I try to orchestrate my own story based on my near-sighted interpretation of God’s song, and I fail to trust in the Lord with all my heart. I am without excuse, for—unlike Moses at this time—I know God holds a personal relationship with me. Moses, on the other hand, arguably met God for the first time in the burning bush. He likely didn’t fully understand that situation before him and yet he bowed his head in the presence of the Lord in humility, recognizing his complete vulnerability. Though he later brings his fears before the Lord, Moses does return to Egypt and fulfills God’s mission to deliver the Israelites. Exodus’ author reminds us of God’s covenant with His people in order to show us the drumroll that took place in Moses’ life and to witness the life-altering events that changed the course of the Hebrew’s life.
My life does not yet have the dramatic, impactful ramifications that Moses’ life did. However, in both his story and my own, God does and will do the same thing:
He will stop the drums.
All my anticipation of not knowing where I’m going to work, all the butterflies accompanying graduation, all the fears about transplanting my life to a new place; these worries all fall short upon the realization that the drumroll has ceased, I am living God’s plan, and my worries have failed to draw me any closer to this new stage in life. In fact, perhaps it is better to be surprised by the workings of God, as Moses was, than to worry about reaching the next step in life, as I so often do.
God promises to orchestrate His world in such a way that all things happen for the good of those who love Him. Why would we want to interfere with the Lord’s song?
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You write what many of us feel but have not put into words. My prayer for you–especially tomorrow, as you know so well, is Psalm 121.