Barefoot Before the Bush - Part Three

Part One
Part Two

Forty years after leaving Egypt - nearly a lifetime in our age.  That's how long it took for the life of a prince, the life of privilege, to reprogram in Moses to that of a servant.  What had to feel like wasted time and wasted days had a glorious purpose in the eyes of God.  Oh we don't always see it - some of us never see it... that shedding of the old self and emergence of a new purer, humbler, refined, remade follower of God.  To be brought low by our own insufficiency until our only strength is found in Him is often a humbling and painful chrysalis.  Our life is mundane and vulnerable and seemingly useless simply abiding in our cocoon while God does His work within us.  We emerge from these places changed in profound ways. 

It's the story of many.  It's the story of Moses. I hope it to be the story of me.  Ground zero on the backside of the desert working a job, nostalgic for the days when life made sense and felt important.  All of that stripped away by forty years of nothingness, of paring down the man of means to the man God can finally use. 

I don't know if you've ever been at that "What in the world do I do now? Guess I'll start over." place in your life. You'd know it if you have.  It's devastating.  It's frightening.  It's valuable.  It has seeds of glory.  That's where Moses was when "He who dwells in the burning bush" came to him.  A broken, humbled, pliable man who was ready for God to use and use greatly.  This is where we find Moses when he stumbles on a burning bush in the middle of the desert.  A burning bush was not terribly unusual in the near east desert.  What was unusual was the fact that it kept burning without being consumed.  The fire still blazing, the bush still lush and alive.  So Moses took a step toward it to investigate. 

One step.


... and that was enough.  The Bush-dweller told him to come no closer.

Isn't it comforting to know when you feel far from God or abandoned by Him, ONE step is all He's looking for.  He's not far from anyone of us, and simply invites us to move in a Godward direction.  He will make all the strides toward us if we'll simply turn and make one step in his direction to investigate if what doesn't make sense to us might possibly have something to do with Him.  And really isn't that the only explanation that makes sense? The circumstances that have mystified us, are, at their very heart, concentered all in Him and His purposes playing out in our lives.  And even pondering such a thing is a step in His direction.  A Godward motion of the simplest faith.

When we make that move toward Him, He will, however, require something of us.  He wants you barefooted.  Can you imagine?  In a desert, on hot burning sand where bushes burst into flames, the one thing you have to protect yourself from the elements and third degree burns on the sensitive skin of your feet is the one thing God wants you to give up.  No shoes.  No protection.  Just you and God and the elements.  No surprise, He asks the same of us. 

In desert seasons, we tend to build up some self-protective tendencies.  We build walls.  We draw boundaries.  We create distance from whatever it was that hurt us before.  We'll never let ourselves be vulnerable to that kind of mistake again.  We might not put on new sandals but we'll don sarcasm, stand-offish-ness, bitterness, a front of false strength.  We learn how to protect ourselves from the elements that burned us before. 

And in the presence of God, He will have none of it. 

When God came near, the shoes had to go.  God is Holy and the holiness of God demands all of who we are to bear all of Who He is.  There is no protection from the elements, from being burned again. There's no manmade, self-conjured-up front to throw up between you and the God who made you.  There is only Him and our bared selves.  A throw back to the Garden when our nakedness was not hidden, our feet were never shoed, and our souls were bare before its Creator without pretense or defense or shame.  No fear but the fear of God.  Nothing between our soul and the Savior. 

Stripped of everything we used to put our faith in - our good name, our status, our power, and now our pretense and protection, we can only utter as Moses did, "hineni".  Hineni - Here am I.  This is me - nothing impressive, nothing extraordinary, nothing beautiful.  Just a guy who blew it and still loves God.  What you see is what you get.  This is all of me.  Here am I.  And in the rawness and vulnerability of our soul, we strangely find ourselves safe - safer than we ever imagined considering our past mistakes, even considering our present circumstances. 

The favor of Him Who dwells in the burning bush found us, drew near to us, allowed us to be only what we are and rescued us from the transformative mundane desert that we've occupied for so long.  These forty years have changed us, and the bush is about to lead us where we never thought we'd go.