If ever someone was called out of their comfort zone, it was Moses.
After fleeing Egypt for the murder of an overseer, Moses found a safe place in the deserts of Midian. He led a humble life as a mountain shepherd-nothing like his world as a prince of Egypt. But God's plans for Moses went far beyond leading sheep to pasture: Moses would lead people to freedom.
As God casts the vision for the deliverance of Israel in Exodus 3-4, Moses is overwhelmed. He already left everything behind in Egypt, and God's call meant leaving everything once again. Moses' conversation with God about this calling can guide us as we step out in our own life mission.
Who Am I? (Exodus 3:11)
When God told Moses His plan to deliver Israel, Moses' initial response was utter shock. "Who am I that I should go to Pharoah and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?" he asked.
How many of us ask this same question when we feel God tugging at our heart? In the span of the world, we feel small and insignificant-the last choice for use in God's plan to reach people with His love. But just as God promised Moses, He promises us "I will certainly be with you" (Exodus 3:12). It's not about who we are, but about the greatness of the God who is with us.
What Should I Say? (Exodus 3:13)
Despite God reassuring Moses of His presence, Moses wasn't convinced. "If I go to the Israelites…what should I tell them?" Moses knew there would be questions about his calling. He knew people might judge him, belittle him and doubt his qualifications. Like Moses, we often limit our acceptance of God's calling based on the opinions of people. We fear their response to our mission and aren't sure what to say when we're questioned.
God told Moses He didn't need to worry about popular opinion: "This is what you are to say to the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you." (Exodus 3:14) When we trust God to equip us for the ministry He's given us to complete, it doesn't matter what people say. All that matters is that God sent us to accomplish His purpose.
What If…? (Exodus 4:1)
Moses still wasn't sure about God's plan. "What if they won't believe me and will not obey me?" he asked. This question "What if?" is the same question we turn over in our minds as we decide whether or not to follow God out of our comfort zone.
"What if I'm single forever?"
"What if people don't like me?"
"What if my message is not received?"
Fear settles in the crevices of our hearts and sends our thoughts into a storm of worry. What if, what if, what if?
God responded to Moses' fear with a display of His power. First, He changed Moses' staff into a serpent. Then He caused Moses' hand to become diseased-only to miraculously heal it a moment later. He told Moses to show these signs to Israel as evidence that God was with him.
Today, we don't turn staffs into serpents as evidence of God's power. But God's Holy Spirit resides within our hearts. We can pray for God to demonstrate His power through us, giving us words that meet people right where they are. We don't know what is going on in the lives of those around us-but God does. He can use us to bring a message at the perfect time, but we have to let go of the "What ifs" and trust Him to work in and through us.
But I'm Not Qualified! (Exodus 4:10)
Even though God answered all of Moses' doubts, Moses couldn't shake his sense of inadequacy. Since he was raised an Egyptian, Moses never experienced the slavery his Hebrew brothers did. But as a fugitive, he didn't fit in with the Egyptians, either. There was a good chance no one would listen to Moses, and he was overcome by the thought of it. Not only that, but Moses wasn't good at public speaking. The whole mission seemed like a terrible fit.
But God had other plans. "I will help you speak and I will teach you what to say." (Exodus 4:12)
Today you might doubt your calling. You might feel God calling you to step out of your comfort zone. You might be asking questions as you decide whether to follow God into the unknown.
There is a famous saying: "God doesn't call the qualified; He qualifies the called." Just as the Lord equipped Moses for a monumental task, He will give you His presence and wisdom for your own calling. Instead of asking in fear, "What if..?", we should ask, "What if I don't follow God into this calling? What great work might I miss out on?" Remember, no matter what the call God gives, He will "certainly be with you" (Exodus 3:11).