Posts Tagged ‘Moses’

The Connected Child(ren of God)

Years ago, when we began the journey of adoption, it was surprising to read in “The Connected Child” that we would want our daughter to cry.  Reading the explanation, however, seemed to make perfect sense.  For a child who has never known the safe environment of a loving home and parents who cared for her needs, she has to learn the connected-child-cover-web-198x300instinct to cry out.  Previously, crying gained her nothing, or quite possibly the opposite of affection, and so she may have “unlearned” the behavior.  As our child became connected to us, it would become evident through moments like crying out – knowing she could trust a proper and loving response.

Fast forward several years.  We’ve finally brought home a daughter who is about 5 years old, and not only has she “unlearned” many habits of children who grow up in healthy environments – she’s also acquired many habits of children who grow up in unhealthy environments.  She is loved, for the first time as never before, and brought in to being part of a family. At first, she didn’t understand much of anything.  What did “Father” mean?  What did “Mother” mean?  There are certain things, and certain words, that if you were to examine them in the routine of many normal homes it would be confusing.   But in our context, where we’re attempting to purposefully build the connections most children would naturally develop from birth, they make sense.

Now take a step back.  Think about the Old Testament and the actions or words spoken between God and His people.  A common question among people who don’t want to believe in God, or even those who do but are honest with their doubts – “Why would God command ______?  Why would God do ________?”

I can’t pretend to understand the mind or heart of God completely, but I do understand the heart of a Father who wants to connect with the heart of their child. A child who has never known a Father like this before.  A child who has become so separated from the concept of “family” or “parent”, that it is a completely foreign concept.

So we see God calling out His people from among all others.  We see God rescue His people, only to force them into depending on Him through the wilderness for 40 years. We hear words from God about the wrath He’s capable of, even though ultimately He reveals His heart to be powerfully Loving and full of Grace for humanity. (lol, I realize that sounds bad here.  No worries, we’re not threatening wrath or taking our daughters on 40 year wilderness journeys.)

It’s not the kind of relationship we’d have if we were born aware of Him.  But it’s an adoption that impacts us to the very core of our being, for eternity.  Romans 8:15 reminds us, “The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”

One of the most natural ways to build that connection and bond? Simply to hold our daughter, and to allow her to feel our love. To remind her that we are here, and she is here, and she is ours no matter what happens.  To help her feel safe, and loved, and comforted.  To provide for her needs, and help her to see how depending on us to meet those needs is a trustworthy habit to develop.

In this moment – maybe it’s a good reminder for you and I – if this is what I am aware of, can’t we trust that God knows even better how to move His children into a fully connected relationship with Him?  We can trust in these moments, if we allow ourselves to be held by Him, to listen to His words, and to depend on Him to provide – these are habits worth developing in our own lives.

Even as I continue to pray my daughter would know my love deep in her heart, and not just in behavior – I also pray that my heart would deeply come to know the Love of my Father, not just in my behavior.  I pray that God would use this understanding of His Love – to invite even more children into fuller connection with Him…

Leading Them To Water

Moses: Hello rock.

Rock: Hello Moses.

Moses: How are you today?

Rock: Oh, ya’ know, it pretty much rocks being me.

Moses: lol, always so witty.  Hey, do you think you could give us some water?  God said it was cool.

Rock: Well sure (transforms into giant office water tank).  Go ahead.

Moses: Wow, that’s a pretty nifty trick.

People: WHOO HOOO.  Hooray for the Lord, God of Moses! All of creation responds to His desires!

You may not recognize the above story from your time in scriptures.  That’s because it never got a chance to happen.  In Numbers 20:8, God directs Moses to relieve the thirst of the people and their animals by speaking to a rock “that it may yield its water.”  Who knows what they may have looked like?  Okay, probably not the situation above, I just had a bit of fun with it.

Instead, Moses was filled with anger and frustration at a whiny group of untrusting people.  Even after all they had been through, they were blaming God for their thirst, and asking if Moses had led them to this place to die.

I imagine a large group of kids in the back of a mini-van.  This trip has been much longer than they thought.  They’ve asked “Are we there yet?” about a hundred times, and now have escalated to the drama of “I’m going to die, I’m so IMG_9800thirsty!!”  Mom and dad are in the front, thirsty too, but driving through traffic jams in the middle of midwestern cornfields doesn’t offer many chances to stop.  Finally dad slams on the breaks and pulls over.  He’s had enough.  He turns around to look at his children and the main goal in that moment is to stop the whining.  He gets out of the car, and hits a rock.  The rock starts gushing water, and the need is met.

Now for a “bigger lens”…

As parents, we want to meet the needs of our children.  Just like Moses, we feel the burden of providing for our family.  There are ways to do it, that honor God and help turn the hearts of our children toward responding to their ultimate provider in worship.  There are other ways to do it, that simply (or luxuriously) put food on the table, but end in a result of our children being amazed at our abilities and filling their thirsts.

It’s difficult…sooo very difficult to spend time talking to rocks.  But in the end we recognize our children have a thirst that goes deeper than any material item in this world can quench.  More important than causing the water to flow, and meeting their every immediate need – is providing them a path on which they see and experience the love and provision of God, and are shaped to depend on Him.

The question then becomes – Where is the rock God is calling you, as a parent, to talk to?

 

Numbers: @ Family Camp

I’ll confess: I’ve never been to “Family Camp”.  I’ve visited. I’ve camped. I’ve “familied”.  I even serve at a church connected to 3 different camps (1 in particular, hopefully we can get to someday!).  Over the years, we’ve connected to the ministries camp provide and this summer, logistics finally work out for us to attend one fully.  I’m looking forward to how God’s Word, family time, nature-paced time, and worship with God’s people will breathe into us.  37889_447386426583_6477578_n

In Numbers chapter 11, we have one of the very first “Family Camp’s” in the history of God’s people.  They’d left Egypt, and were traveling with a crew of well over 600,000.  That’s quite a camp.  The camp director, Moses, was hearing the complaints left and right.  It’s a bit of a burden, trying to meet the needs of that many people, and lead them toward God at the same time.  Specifically here, they’re not happy with the menu.  Manna just doesn’t abate hunger the way a nice full kosher meal would.  Carrying their burdens, Moses comes before God, and asks why he’s being punished.   I wonder how many camp directors would echo his cries…”God, I’m not their parent!  I didn’t give birth to them! Why is it on me to meet this need?”

God hears Moses, and calls him to get 70 Assistant Directors to share the burden with him.  In a moment of paternal snarkiness, God pretty much says, “They want meat?  I’ll bring a month’s worth! I’ll give ’em so much meat it’ll come out their nostrils!” (Promise it’s in there, read it.)  The people weren’t just complaining about manna.  They were actually entertaining the thought that things were better back in Egypt.  The journey to the promised land was taking longer than anticipated, and even though miracles were happening regularly to care for them, they wanted immediate gratification.

So Moses gathers his assistants.  They assemble around the tent, and God comes to share the Spirit Moses carries with each of them.  They prophesy in that moment, and it seems to end.  But there were two “dads” who didn’t leave camp, for whatever reason.  They were registered, but stayed in the camp, and somehow the Spirit empowered them to prophesy as well.  Instead of getting upset along with the son of a Nun, Moses is glad!  He says, “If only all of God’s people had the Lord put His Spirit on them!”  (Spoiler alert: God totally does that eventually!)

Then comes an all-camp activity that probably wouldn’t go over very well at most camps today: Quail Collecting.  About 3 feet deep of quail seems to form a wall about a days journey all around camp.  The LEAST anyone gathered was about 100 bushels of quail.  I’m not sure if it came out their nostrils, but it was a lot of meat for sure.  While the meat was still in their teeth, God’s anger came in the form of a plague that killed so many, the camp was renamed “Graves of Lust” (Try to market THAT camp to next years campers!).

God was writing a powerful story, on a scale large enough for it to be written down and told for thousands of years.  Reminding us to have faith, even when it’s hard.  Even if you want to go back in time, to before you stepped out onto this long, dusty road of the unknown.  You stepped out, hand in God’s hand, believing He was guiding you.  There is still Hope.  There is still a promised land ahead.  You may get impatient and frustrated…but keep your hand in His.  As His people gather in Family Camps all around this summer, it’s a great reminder that we are not alone on our dusty roads.  We gather as families, and as the family of God.  May we encourage, pray with, and share each other’s burdens.  There is Hope for us all, though we may have to travel a bit farther still.  Let’s travel together…

Okay with Wait.

I often find myself in the position parents all throughout time have been in, explaining a large word or concept to my 4 year old in ways she can grasp.  The word we were discussing was the word “patience”.  A word her daddy needs to work on every bit as much as she does.  The phrase I came up with to help her understand was simply, “patience means it’s okay to wait”.

But we are reminded by God’s word, there’s much more to it than that.  In Exodus 24, God calls Moses to the mountain to meet with him.  Moses goes, and ends up having to wait 6 days before God reveals himself.  As they’re meeting together on the mountain, the people of God find themselves waiting 40 days and 40 nights, and they grow impatient.  It seems not only here, but throughout scripture, God’s people should be those who not only “know how” to wait well, but look forward to those times of waiting.

skyThis seems to be appropriately against the normal pace of an instant gratification world.  The culture of hurry, and filled schedules.  It also seems like a very important/beneficial time to embrace the concept of “waiting”, as we continue the season of Lent this week.  We wait, and deny ourselves certain things until the celebrations of Easter week.  We know there will be much to celebrate, and what we will celebrate together gives us strength and reason to remain faithful today.

The people of God in Exodus 24 lost sight of that.  In chapter 32, we read a disappointing scene where God’s people have lost patience in waiting for Moses.  In their impatience, they’ve created an idol to give them spiritual gratification immediately.  I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to say, many times we Jesus-loving church goers find ourselves with the same desire for instant spiritual gratification.

But what about the faithfulness of God that comes after a period of waiting?  All of creation waited for Christ to come, and oh how things have changed!  The people of God wandered in the wilderness, waiting to enter the promised land.  Jesus spent his time in the wilderness, being tempted by Satan and spending time apart with God – preparing him for his earthly ministry.  Noah and his family waited through the storms, and waited even beyond that for the water to recede, in order to experience the covenant living of God.  Abraham and Sarah waited quite longer than they expected, to experience the beginning of God’s faithfulness to His word.

In each of these, the wait was much more than “okay”.

May we be people who are not only experienced in, but filled with anticipation by…waiting on the Lord.

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