What’s In Your Hand?
December 10, 2018
Verse for the Week: Revelation 12:11; “They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.”
Last night, MomsHope gathered together for our Christmas dinner. It was a wonderful evening of celebration. It began as we graduated three beautiful and brave women (pictured above—Swiya, Vickie, and Sharon).
We learned a few salsa dancing steps from a pro, shared an amazing Mexican fiesta, and opened gifts. The room was a buzz of conversation. We shared our hearts, and our lives; shed a few tears, and enjoying some much-needed laughter.
I for one am honored to be a part of this amazing tribe of women. I see God shining through each one of you as your lives are living testimonies of His grace and power. Inspiring. Humbling. Powerful.
With this as our backdrop, I’d like to spend some time exploring what it means to have a personal testimony. Not just a download of details, or a tsunami of emotions that chronicle a journey from pain to purpose, or ashes to beauty. But a God-infused message of…well, God.
The current state of our culture is somewhat singular. We live in a selfie-world where narcissism is rampant. And even as Christians, we often find ourselves running the race of self-actualization more than God-realization. We want to be better. We want changed lives. We want a powerful testimony.
But without God, our story is just that—a story. It becomes a testimony when we paint the narrative of God—His glory and His power. Otherwise, it is just a self-promoting declarative fit for a facebook wall.
Moses has a powerful testimony. Although it began at birth, we will enter his story at the burning bush (Exodus 3). By this time, he had already lived quite a full and exciting life. The irony of his testimony mustn’t be missed because this is often how providence works.
Moses escaped death as a baby by order of the Egyptian Pharoah to kill all newborn Hebrew boys. He was then found and adopted into the royal Egyptian family by Pharaoh’s daughter herself and raised as an Egyptian prince. Now, he is hiding in the hills of Midian after killing an Egyptian guard in defense of a Hebrew slave. Ironic? Perhaps. Prophetic? For sure.
This is where we find Moses, shepherding sheep on Mount Horeb, also called the Mountain of God. It was a day like any other, a normal part of his routine. No longer posing as a prince, he was back in his skin as a Hebrew, tending the flock of his father-in-law. That is until he came upon a strange and wonderful sight—a bush on fire that did not burn up.
Moses looks at it intently. Curious to the sight, and on a level his human mind couldn’t fully comprehend, he was witnessing the presence of God and His power to not destroy. Through this experience, God spoke to Moses and gave him a mission.
The mission was personal. Profound. Outrageous. Yet, we can’t help but feel the irony of passion colliding with purpose. Moses had committed a grave iniquity in taking the life of another. He did so in a moment of passion as the injustice of his people called him to action.
So when God declared His mission to use Moses to rescue the Israelites from their oppression, and bring them into a better place, I’m sure Moses’ memory didn’t fail him. Yet, through it all, God was training Moses for this moment of redemption. And I can’t help but think, Moses knew it too. Every detail that never made sense, never fit, quickly came into focus.
Have you ever had a moment like that with God? Where time stood still, and clarity washed over you? It can be disquieting. It can also be exhilarating. I’m sure Moses felt both.
Regardless, he questioned God. He didn’t believe he was qualified and capable of this monumental mission. One that would force any of us to question God. Yet there was no backing down. God had a plan and Moses was his man.
Insecurity surfaced immediately. “Who am I?” Moses asked. God’s response, “I will be with you.”
Although God did not give answer to Moses’ question, He gave him all the information he needed to know. Again, Moses’ insecurity surfaces, “What if they do not believe me?”
At this, God answered Moses with His own question. He turned the tables and asked one simple question that held the key to his confidence, “What is in your hand?”
Moses answered, “A staff.”
Like every other shepherd, Moses held a staff in his hand. It was probably worn, dirty, and beloved. I’m sure he leaned on it when tired, used it as a weapon to defend against predators, and as a gentle guide to manage those in his care.
Beyond practicality, the shepherd’s staff was a memoir of one’s life. Made to last a lifetime, each nick and notch symbolized a stage and an experience of one’s journey. It represented his life and purpose—a visual reminder of his experience.
Exodus 4 is where we see God transform Moses’ story into a powerful testimony. Not only was the staff of Moses representative of his life experience, but God was showing him how to use it reveal the greater testimony (read the full account in Exodus chapters 3 & 4).
You see, God works through us, through our experiences—our trials and triumphs—to show His power and prove His presence. We become more than our stories. We become living testimonies of God’s power, presence, and provision.
What is in your hand that God wants to use?
Places of pain often produce pursuits of passion. This was true for Moses. Where is this true for you?
Lord God, thank you for your presence in my life and your power to take the messy details of my story and turn them into a testimony of You. You are my story. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Reflect and Respond:
Take some time this week to steward your story. Ask God to transform the disheveled details of your story into a powerful testimony that points others to Him. Not only do you have a story to tell, but a testimony that teaches.
Hugs for a great week and remember, you are not alone. Be blessed and let your testimony teach.