I love fairytales. Ever since I was a young girl. All of them. There’s nothing like a happy ending. Finding your prince. Having a fairy godmother. Living happily ever after. Then you grow up, enter the real world and wonder when will it be your happy ever after?
One fairytale I remember as a child is “Alice in Wonderland.” I always had a different feeling about this particular one. Alice is always wandering. She follows a rabbit, falling down a rabbit hole and enters a land that is far different from the place she calls home. She meets strange characters and creatures. Drinks from a bottle that makes her a giant and another that shrinks her to the size of a mouse. And don’t even talk to me about that Queen of Hearts! “Off with her head!” Off with her head!” ~ With that wicked grin she had on her face! Creepy. All the while, Alice just wants to get home. Then, she awakens from her slumber and realizes that she is home and that maybe home isn’t such a bad place.
Boy, can I relate to that. So many days I find myself trying to accomplish everything. The phrase, “I got this” is something I have said a lot. Oh, how I wish it were true. I think sometimes, when I say it, that I’m trying to convince myself that it is true. But, most days it’s not. I’m trying to tackle too many things at once or trying to be too many things to too many people. I think I have it all under control. Control. One of my favorite words. Boy, do I love to try to control things. And how many times in my past have I thought it actually is in my control? When most of the time, I’m reminded it isn’t.
After reflecting on Exodus Chapters 6-10 this week, I’ve been humbled and reminded of how chasing my own agenda can quickly lead me down the “rabbit hole,” when what I really need to do is call on God to guide my path. In these chapters, we see God constantly preparing Moses to deliver his message to Pharaoh. He tells Moses, “I will free you from your oppression and will rescue you from your slavery in Egypt.” God also tells him that He “will redeem,” He “will claim you as my people” (See Exodus 6:6-7 NLT). Moses’ response is so similar to how we all can respond to God’s instruction: “My own people won’t listen to me anymore. How can I expect Pharaoh to listen? I’m such a clumsy speaker!” (Exodus 6:12b NLT). There’s the self-doubt showing again, like in last week’s reflection. So, how does Moses respond? Well, after God assures Moses that He will make him “seem like God to Pharaoh” and tells him exactly how Pharaoh will respond, also giving Moses Aaron to stand by him to help him deliver God’s message and perform a miracle – It is then that Moses goes to Pharaoh and obeys God’s commands. God even tells Moses that Pharaoh will refuse to listen, because his heart is stubborn. Here, we see God displaying His Grace. He doesn’t just tell Moses what to do and leave him alone to do it. He gives Moses a helper (Aaron), he tells him what to do and even tells him what the outcome will be! God knows Moses. He knew that this is what Moses needed in order to carry out His plan. Boy, how many times I wish God would tell me the answers! But, that’s not always how it plays out. I can’t help but think how Moses must’ve felt responding to God’s call to action. Scared? Unsure of himself? Skeptical? Tired? It sure would be a lot easier to just say, “No, God. This is too much for me to take on right now. Thanks, but no thanks.” Easier for that moment. But, in the long run what is the pay-off? Instead, Moses responds to God’s call. And everything that God tells Moses occurs. Then, there is Pharaoh. After Moses repeatedly sends God’s messages to Pharaoh, performing miracles to show him God’s all-mighty power, Pharaoh refuses to listen and obey God. Do I want to be like Pharaoh and keep telling myself that I know better than God? That I have all the answers? If you read on through Chapters 7-10, you soon see that it is not a wise decision. I can’t help but pity Pharaoh, in that he couldn’t look past himself to obey God. His ego was too big and when we let ourselves come before God, then no good comes out of it. The plagues that God instills upon Pharaoh and his people in these chapters are harsh reminders of just how bad it can get when we don’t heed God’s calling. All the while, God still grants his mercy to Pharaoh and gives him chances to obey. Each time Pharaoh fails. His heart becomes hardened and suffering ensues.
This is a great reminder to me that sometimes the call of obedience can feel so overwhelming. But, once I let go of the fear and just listen to God, I’m always humbled by how much easier it gets. Maybe not right away, but sometimes we really have to walk through the hard times to see and feel the reward of doing so. I don’t want to feel like I’m falling down the rabbit hole with no end in sight. I’d rather put my faith in God, give Him the control and experience the good that comes out of it. And I don’t need to fear, because my God is able. My God is merciful. My God is with me.