a whisper from the shadows

Every story whispers His name.

The month of May has found me wrestling through some Scriptures regarding the call of Christ. I know the Lord well enough to be familiar with His patterns of teaching through Scripture and teaching through experience. Oftentimes, I ignore these warnings of impending lessons. However, this month, I have delved full force, belly-flop-style, head-first into this truth.

Numbers 16 and 17 tell the story of God choosing to use Aaron and Moses as representatives to the Israelites and the story of the Israelites coming to terms with not being chosen for this task. In chapter 16, some men rose up against God and said to Moses, "You have gone too far. All the people are holy, everyone of them, and the Lord is among them. So why do you put yourselves above all the people of the Lord?" (v3). Read the rest of the chapter to get the whole story. Pretty much, they were killed for questioning the decisions of the Lord and speaking out against Him. Moses and Aaron humbly asked God to spare their lives. Its a beautiful and frightening reflection of our God.

In chapter 17 of Numbers, God instructs Moses to gather the staffs of the leaders of the tribes and to carve each leader's name into the stick. Moses then places the sticks before the Ark of the Covenant in the Meeting Tent. God has chosen to reveal the person, and thus the tribe, He is choosing by causing the stick to flower. The next day, when Moses enters the tent, he sees that Aaron's stick has grown leaves- had even budded, blossomed, and grown almonds! Now, God does this to show the Israelites that HE is choosing Aaron- that it is not Moses choosing Aaron.

And so, reading through these verses, it struck me hard. These people knew that they were holy, that their sins had been covered, that they were forgiven and that they were chosen. And yet, they were NOT chosen for something they longed for. How painful! These sticks represented all that they stood for as humans- all of their accomplishments, their feats, their glory.

When we lay our glory before God, will He choose us?

The question turns inward. What am I longing for? What am I striving for? What am I jealous for that God is saying to me, "you are not chosen for this." My mind travels to the various aspects of my life: dreams and aspirations, accomplishments, networking, relationships, material goods, memories. I want to go back to grad school for history- is God choosing this for me? I want to have a big family- is God calling me to this? I want a home where all are welcome- is God asking me to do this? I want to live in another country for a while- is God calling me to this life?

For days, I have wrestled through what it means to not be called to something I long for. For days, I stood in the shoes of the Israelites- God's chosen people- and asked, "If He didn't call them, did He call me?" These were scary, difficult, messy questions to ask as I stood before the God I loved, knowing I was loved, knowing He says "no."

And then.

Oh, sweet, lovely then.

I returned to Numbers 17 and saw something new.

When God chooses you, its you out of, and in front of, hundreds of thousands of people.
When God says "yes," its a miracle and it brings life to the formerly dead.
When God calls, its the sweetest voice you've ever heard.

To be chosen is unique and unprecedented and glorious.
And then, you have learned that this is a miracle,
and the glory is for God alone, and you have nothing to boast in.

1 comment:

  1. such lovely, encouraging words claire... better heard in person though, glad I got to today :) love you very much!