“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and His rule."-Matthew 5:3
At the end of my rope. A sentence I felt these past few weeks, longing for certain dreams to be fulfilled and feeling like maybe they never will be. And I felt tired of hoping and tired of actively pursuing my faith in what I would love my life to be, yet uncertain of what will ever unfold.
Some of us know this feeling all too well. Just like any relationship, ours with God ebbs and flows, constantly moving between the peaks and the valleys where there are seasons of ultra growth and seasons of scorching drought, like we're barely drinking enough water to survive. And sometimes, when we hit these spiritual dry spells in the valleys, we forget the blessings that come with the waiting- when we reach the end of the rope- the end of ourselves.
We know the stories. The ones where we would cross our legs and fold our hands in our laps and listen to someone read about those who came before us and feared the Lord. And then we grew up and we remembered the stories and maybe smiled for a minute, until we let the story pass away and fade and really felt no connection to them- like the one about a man who freed God's people from Egypt and lead them through a desert. Because today we walk through shopping malls instead of walking through parted seas and it's hard to relate- and it can be hard to find hope in God's words when life seems so different now.
But, despite how it can feel sometimes, there is much to learn from God's stories in His Word, and in fact, there is quite a bit I think we have in common with one called Moses. Before he freed God's people from the Pharaoh and lead them through the the sea and parched dirt, Moses was summoned to His calling by God. And maybe, just like you and I feel sometimes, it happened when he was at the end of himself. When maybe he wasn't sure of where he was headed but he was doing the best he could (Exodus 2:22).
"Now Moses...came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, 'I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.'
When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, 'Moses! Moses!'
And Moses said, 'Here I am.'
'Do not come any closer,' God said. 'Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.'” Exodus 3:5
When God is near, when His presence is burning around me like a flame, I want to turn my face towards Him and move closer- just like Moses did. I want God to see me going over to look at Him. So often when I feel helpless and at the end of my rope, those are the times when I don't want to pay attention to God. I grow impatient, fed up with certain circumstances, and I can imagine if I were in Moses' shoes (pun intended), maybe I would choose to not even walk towards the burning bush at all.
But I love the picture of this faithful man who walks and draws closer to his strange, inexplicable and magnificent God.
“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” When standing in the presence of God, we are to worship Him respectfully. In His direct presence, he is so pure that we must respect His holiness. And this holiness we serve is such a sweet, sweet gift as holiness itself is the very thing that heals and purifies the brokenness we are called and blessed to leave behind.
We are blessed when we are at the end of our rope. We are blessed when we draw near to Him in those moments instead of running away with anger or fear. We are blessed when we rightfully stand in our place, shoe-less and humble, at His feet.
At the moments when I'm my weakest and I don't know where to turn, though tempted to turn towards Netflix shows that make me feel good and Justin Bieber songs and anything that allows me to temporarily escape reality, I want to instead choose to be a woman who turns towards God's active pursuit of my life. I want to run towards Him and take off my shoes and stand in His loving presence, letting His burning love for me fill every empty chamber of my heart like a flame catching fire as it spreads with power and fills me with hope again.
This is the reflection I needed to have within my own heart these past few weeks and today. I'd love to ask you, too. Where in your life do you desire to turn your face towards God rather than giving in to the temptation to turn elsewhere? What shoes is He asking you to kick off your feet and toss away as you pursue holiness?
His mercies are new. Let's run towards our God who lives to breathe His Holy presence into everything aching and wandering, and let us let Him be our strength. I want to be at the end of my rope because there- I find more of God and less of me.
"But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do."
- 1 Peter 1:15
"You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."
"So Samuel said to all the Israelite's, 'If you are returning to the Lord with all your hearts, then rid yourselves of the foreign gods and the Ashoreths and commit yourselves to the Lord and serve Him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.'"