Today’s scripture text is a portion of the same text Pastor Delton shared with us yesterday in worship. Even if you’ve already read it, please read it again, and notice what words or phrases grab you, particularly in the context of this wonderful Advent season. An Old Testament story at Christmastime? The Message (MSG)
3 1-2 Moses was shepherding the flock of Jethro, his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. He led the flock to the west end of the wilderness and came to the mountain of God, Horeb. The angel of God appeared to him in flames of fire blazing out of the middle of a bush. He looked. The bush was blazing away but it didn’t burn up. Moses said, “What’s going on here? I can’t believe this! Amazing! Why doesn’t the bush burn up?” God saw that he had stopped to look. God called to him from out of the bush, “Moses! Moses!” He said, “Yes? I’m right here!” God said, “Don’t come any closer. Remove your sandals from your feet. You’re standing on holy ground.” Then he said, “I am the God of your father: The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob.” Moses hid his face, afraid to look at God. God said, “I’ve taken a good, long look at the affliction of my people in Egypt. I’ve heard their cries for deliverance from their slave masters; I know all about their pain. And now I have come down to help them, pry them loose from the grip of Egypt, get them out of that country and bring them to a good land with wide-open spaces, a land lush with milk and honey, the land of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite.
As soon as I saw the word deliverance mentioned in terms of this story, I thought of my own deliverance story. It’s a story of facing one of the hardest things a person can do – experience the death of a child. Jim and I were expecting a baby, and at 20 weeks, found out that this baby would not survive. We cried, not knowing how we would survive the delivery, and saying goodbye to a baby we would only get to know in heaven. I remember crying out to God in my mind – “Please, I don’t know how to do this – I need you!”. The pregnancy was far enough along that I would have to deliver this child, and so we entered the hospital. Immediately, family and our Pastor surrounded us, praying with us, comforting us, and standing beside us during that awful day. In hindsight, Jim and I can see now the angels God sent to us to intervene and support us. He send us nurses, and one nurse in particular who I will never forget, who recognized our pain and fright, and gave us advice that others didn’t or couldn’t give us – practical advice about naming Timothy, making arrangements for saying goodbye, and fussing at the doctor to assist me in the task of delivering. I honestly don’t remember her name now, but she will always be one of my angels. We grieved and cried out to God, and were ultimately comforted by these angels, and the faith that our parents had instilled in us through their faith in God – “we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.”
What does this have to do with the text? For me, it’s all about the times in my life when I’m faced with challenges, and I want to throw up my hands and say – make it change God, make it better – I can’t do this! This text reminds me that God knows my pain, and my all powerful God can and does intervene, probably sometimes when I don’t even realize it! He wants to walk through the pain or challenge with me, if I will just ask.
This text also convicted me to re-examine the “deliverance” Jim and I experienced in a new light – what were the blessings that unfolded? Closer relationships with our family and Pastor, a new appreciation for the blessing of the 3 year old God had already given us, and then, a little over a year later, a sweet little baby named Justin, who arrived in the Christmas season – I still call him my little Christmas elf! God wants to share in our lives, through the good and the bad, and loves us so much that “He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him, will not perish, but have everlasting life” – we’re about to celebrate the very beginning of that promise as God became man – Christmas! That’s a promise I can hold onto, through the good and bad.
And now, I’m wondering how I can be one of those angels that God sent to me. How can I be the hands and feet of Jesus to love and support the people around me?
Heavenly Father – I’m so thankful for your promise, and I receive the intervention and deliverance you extend to me, a sinner. Please make me a light in this world that can sometimes be so dark. Help me to daily act like I have a God that loves me so much that he sent His Son to redeem my sinful life! I thank you and I praise you! Amen.
Do you have a story of deliverance, a story of God’s faithfulness in your life? Feel free to share, as we walk through this life together!
His Servant, kristi