Things Kinda Fell Apart After "Picklehead" - Part Four

Part One
Part Two
Part Three

While I was unemployed, I had a lot of time on my hands and I was so grateful to spend much of it at the home of my brother and sister in love.  They were so gracious to let me come and stay and love on their 6 babies - it truly was oxygen to my soul.  It was so healing.  I have so many great memories from those trips, and a lot of really funny stories, as you can imagine, from spending so much time with them and their kids who were aged 1-10 at the time.  
The Irish twins on a pine cone hunt
and bike ride with AnutLisa.

My favorite thing was waking up to the faintest little knock on the bedroom door and little giggly girls coming in to wake up "AnutLisa".  Eva (5) and Chloe (4) pictured here, are "Irish twins" having been born just a year and ten days apart.  They were at such a fun age, and said some of the funniest (and often quoted) little one-liners.  They would come in and see if I was awake, and we'd talk or play cards or just get up and go get breakfast.  One particular morning, our conversation turned into some hilarious and good-natured name calling.

We had traded a few "You're a Pumpkin Booty", "You're a Picklehead" and "You're a Jellobrain" when suddenly Chloe jumped in with an enthusiastic "You a bootiful pincess!" (spelled exactly as she said it).  Instantly feeling bad about that "Picklehead" comment, my heart just melted.  Seems that Chloe hadn't quite caught on to the whole name calling thing, sweet little button-nose as she was, and it was the sweetest thing ever.

Names, playful or otherwise, can carry weight; and not just names we've been called or have called other people.  Names we give ourselves are just as powerful (said the queen of "I'm such a dork").  "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he", scripture reveals.  We tend to live up to or down to our self-assessments in a twisted form of "name it and claim it".  We become what we self-identify ourselves to be, so we ought to take particular notice of what God calls Himself to be knowing He will live up to it.  He is not a man that He should lie.  He is who He says He is and can do what He says He can do.  We would do well to sit up and take notice when He spells that out for us.  

In the account of Moses and the burning bush God first identifies Himself as the God of Moses' forefathers.  What comfort that must have been to him!  Here's a guy who had only been known as a Israelite for the briefest of time - that short period of self-discovery before He killed an Egyptian and went on the lam.  Finally knowing he belonged to these people, he'd been deprived of the association of them, the familiarity of them, the nearness of them.  It would have been easy to disassociate himself from them.  After all, he'd only ever been their master, their Prince.  But here God is saying "I'm your God, the God of the generations past you can't even name.   Their heritage and their history with me is also your heritage and your history.  I'm Him and You're mine."  What a kind confirmation of God's acceptance and His forgiveness. 

Second, God identifies Himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob - a name, He says, to be His name forever (Ex 3:15).  That's what He wanted all generations to remember Him to be.  To know the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is to know that He made very specific and miraculous promises to them - promises that were not fulfilled in their lifetime. He'd promised an old man and his barren wife that they'd be the first of a nation so large they'd have better luck counting the stars than counting their descendants.  That's a lot of family for a childless couple already ordering off the Senior Menu!  And God continued that promise to Isaac and reiterated it again to Jacob with a caveat.  It would be easier to count the stars than to count their descendants who would be as numerous as the grains of sand.  But as great and grand as these promises had been, neither Abraham, Isaac nor Jacob had seen those promises fulfilled... yet.  And they're still waiting.   

Here's what we can extract from all this name-calling:

The "favor of the One Who dwells in the burning bush" invites us to leave our small lives where everything is about "me", and dive into the glorious life that is about God and His purposes, His will and His glory on this earth and in eternity.  Moses could have remained a shepherd and had a good life.  But the favor of the Burning Bush Dweller invited Him into the covenant-making, promise-keeping, people-freeing, enemy-slaying, life that advanced God's eternal purposes on the earth instead. 
All this name-calling also reveals to us that it is entirely possible that the work God begins through us, will not be finished by us.  Establishing a family of faith will live on after you're gone.  Ministry and mission, when rooted and grounded in the heart of God, will survive you generations over.  You may never see the full effect of the life God calls you to, or be able to count all the ways you've made an impact on the hearts of others.  You may never see His promises to you fulfilled in your lifetime.  Will you live for it anyway? 
A story was published in May 2014 of a missionary who had served 17 years in the Democratic Republic of the Congo with no quantitative results to be seen.  He returned to the US in 1929 discouraged and then died nine years later believing he'd failed in the one assignment from God most important to him - reaching the hidden tribes he'd encountered in Africa.  How could he have known that over 80 years later, 8 village churches scattered over 34 miles were thriving in that area.  How could he have foreseen that one congregation's "cathedral" seated over 1000 people!  How could he begin to count all the spiritual children of a missionary no one could name, but they all remembered who taught them to read and write, who left them a Bible translated in French, who labored on their behalf for 17 years and then left thinking it was wasted, fruitless years. 
The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, dwelling in the burning bush is really asking us some very poignant questions. 
  1. Will you live for you or for something and Someone greater than you? 
  2. Are you willing to pour out your life in serving the God of the Burning Bush trusting Him to see it through outside of the scope of your lifetime, beyond your knowledge. 
  3. And finally, can you trust that God even wants to use you when, perhaps like Moses, you've made quite a mess of your life?  I think you'll find in our next and final blog in this series that He does and He will despite our logical and ardent protests. 
Hang in their for one more post.  :)