The Staff

I have come to a point where I do not feel very equipped for life.

Sure, one might say that I am educationally equipped. I received a Bachelors degree in English in May 2011. I completed a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing in December 2015. There was a time when I thought that would be enough to equip me for the future, but I was wrong.

For four years, I thought I was “socially” equipped; I met Jorre, and we started dating. We fell in love, and we married on June 18, 2016. I followed the social norm- I met someone, that person became my soulmate, we married and began a life together; however, I quickly became unequipped when he suddenly passed away three months after our wedding on September 27, 2016. I eventually became socially awkward; now I struggle with feeling misplaced when I compare myself to my friends- they are married, while I am not. They have families, while I have no one to start a family with.

They are happy, while I am struggle with the concept of happiness.

I often ask myself, “How do you plan to face life when you are so inadequately equipped? You thought you were equipped. You went to college, you earned two degrees, you started a career, you found a person to build your life with, you were married. But that all changed within an instance. Now what do you have to equip you for this next phase of your journey?”

I ask myself these questions, but God reminds me of Moses. Moses asked God these very same questions when God confronted him with the task to deliver the Hebrews from the hand of Egypt.

Then Moses answered, “But behold, they will not believe me or listen to my voice, for they will say, ‘The LORD did not appear to you.’ The LORD said to Moses, “What is that in your hand?” And he replied, “A staff.” And the LORD said, “Throw it on the ground.” So Moses threw it on the ground, and it became a serpent… (Exodus 4:1-3)

And the LORD said, “And take in your hand this staff, with which you shall do the signs.” (Exodus 4:17)

If you take a look at Moses’s life, he was not at all equipped to deliver God’s people from Egypt. He was not raised in a normal home; in fact, he was raised in the very home that oppressed his people, the very home that subjected his own biological family to the horrors of slavery. Can you imagine how torn he felt, being a Hebrew in a family that loathed the Hebrews as a people? His morals had been compromised, leaving him even more unequipped. He witnessed an Egyptian taskmaster beating a Hebrew slave, and he murdered the taskmaster because of it. Much to his horror, he later discovered that two other Hebrews had seen him commit the murder, thus causing Pharaoh’s anger.  Pharaoh’s disapproval of Moses’s actions influenced him to kill Moses. Out of fear for his life, Moses fled, leaving all that he knew behind in Egypt.

He relays these thoughts to God. He converses with the Creator, giving Him reason after reason as to why he is not equipped enough to perform such a task on His behalf. “They won’t believe me.” Why? Well, because he lived in the home of Pharaoh for so many years, and he possibly had great influence. I am sure his fellow Hebrews thought, “Well, why did Moses choose to ignore our sufferings then, when he was in a good position in Pharaoh’s home?” He tells God that he is slow at speech- he mostly likely stuttered. How would it be possible for a man with a stutter to speak in front of a Pharaoh-a king-with confidence and fierceness? How would it be possible for a man with a stutter to stand in front of a multitude of people and convince them that their God had called him to perform such a task? How, when he was so unequipped?

And yet God continues to pursue Moses. God urges him to complete a task that is better suited for a gifted orator, that is better suited for a valiant warrior, that is better suited for a man who is more equipped.

All that Moses had was a staff. It is possible that the only thing Moses was equipped to do was being a shepherd. It was not glamorous by any means; he herded sheep with a long piece of old wood. So, God asked him, “What is that in your hand?” Can you imagine what Moses thought when he looked at that staff?

This staff is my life now. It is not much. It is not what I had hoped for in life. It reminds me that I somehow ended up here, in a place that I never planned. It is not what I wanted to be in life. It is a reflection of my broken dreams. It is all I have left.

But God said no, you may THINK that is what that staff is; you may THINK that staff represents who you are; you may THINK that staff says, you are only a shepherd, you only herd sheep, you are only a murderer, you are only a stutterer, you are only broken, you are only a failure, you are only misplaced, you are only a failure- yes, that may be what you see when you look upon that staff, but God sees an instrument to perform His signs and wonders, God sees a means to transform the pain from the past into a beacon of hope for the future, God sees the remnant of your inadequacies as a weapon for His glory, God sees His opportunity to equip you.

You may be like Moses. All you may be equipped with is a staff, and you may place the weight on your pain upon that staff. Your failures. Your inadequacies. No, a staff is not much. But God sees your staff, He sees your shortcomings, He sees your failures, He sees your misplacement, and He sees the tool that He plans to use to advance you, to promote you, to prosper you for His glory and for His purpose.

All you have to do is trust Him and submit to His call. Believe that nothing is impossible with Him and know that you might be unequipped compared to the world’s standards, but God is ready to equip you according to His standards.

Throw down your staff.

 

-Lexi

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