Saturday, January 21, 2006

I am with you

This week I would like to reflect on a statement. This statement was made in two separate contexts.

But Moses said to God, "Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?"

And God said, "I am with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain." (Exodus 3:11-12)

Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matthew 28: 18-20)

When we are up against a scary situation, the fear is diminished if we know that we are not alone in that situation. Being alone can often magnify our fears and cause us in our own minds to exaggerate the danger. If we are worried about a given situation, it is often as we lie alone during the night, during those pre-dawn hours, that we tend to be most worried. Anticipating having to do something one self, for the first time, will inevitably result in some degree of nervousness. We would not be human if we were not nervous. This week, many children started school for the first time. I saw pictures of the little ones in the newspaper, some of them entering into this new world with some degree of trepidation. One little girl seemed to be saying to her mummy, "Please don't leave me."

It helps of course when the person accompanying us is bigger, wiser, stronger, or more experienced than we are. That's the kind of person we like to rely on and put our confidence in. The other quality that we value in a person who is with us in difficult situations is someone in whom we can trust, not only because we think they can cope, but also because we believe that they love us, and will do everything with our best interests at heart. As a teacher, my primary responsibility towards the children I teach is their safety. Any activity that I involve them with, I should consider how this will impact the safety of the children. That's what it means to be a responsible adult. In the United Kingdom recently the Secretary for Education was challenged that their were adults working in schools who could potentially pose a danger to the children. I watched the SKY NEWS coverage of the speech she made in parliament this week to deal with the matter. I have to say, I was frustrated and annoyed by the way the reporters were insinuating that the Secretary was "fighting to keep her job" etc., when, call me naïve, I'm sure her major concern was and is the safety of the children of Britain. Ah, but I digress.

My point is facing a new or difficult situation by ourselves is very daunting indeed, but we are reassured when we here someone say, "I will go with you."

Moses was given a job to do: to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. He knew that this would not be a walk in the park. He was very aware of the impact of such an event and rightly surmised that he would receive opposition. He naturally felt overwhelmed by the task: hence his question: "Who am I?"

I've felt like Moses, sometimes. Seeing a need, and yet feeling completely inadequate to meet the need.

Now, Praise God, he is very gentle and tolerant with us. He could say to us, something like "Of you can do it - do you think I would ask you if you weren't able to?" He could, but He doesn't - Instead He reassures us "I am with you."

Moses had a mission to lead the Israelites out of Egypt - but He in turn was lead by God.

Someone might say, it was Okay for Moses, after all he had a visible manifestation in the Cloud that went ahead of them by day and the Pillar of Fire at night. But though God's presence may not take on visible forms such as that, we do have the witness of the Holy Spirit who is in us (believers.) He being God assures us of His eternal presence.

God has a mission for us, and that is to reach out to a lost and dying world and share with them the "Words of Eternal life." A daunting task? Indeed, but he told us He would be with us ALWAYS. Knowing He is with me, I can take the next steps, I can speak to the stranger or that friend about my Friend, Jesus Christ. I can when I receive the command to go, pack my things and go to another country, trusting God to have the support I need to live and work there and tell others about Jesus.

As you step out today, don't forget, He is with you.

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