This morning I read in Exodus of Moses complaining to God about his inability to speak well. Moses had just been commissioned by God as a divine spokesman: he was to confront the king of Egypt on God’s behalf.
I’ve always been curious about Moses’ complaint. Did he have a speech impediment? Or was it that he felt inarticulate in the face of an intimidating figure like Pharaoh? It might even have been his fear of serving as a prophet. I presume that it was the first option, that he had an impediment—maybe a lisp or stutter—but the problem itself isn’t crucial. His confidence in God was the real issue.
What we can be sure of is that God was not impressed with Moses for trying to beg off on his calling. He answered the complainer: “Who made your mouth!”
So God knows our limitations and if he calls us to do something he does it in the context of knowing any and all our limitations. He even took responsibility for shaping Moses’ problem in the first place. And the lesson can be extended. He formed all the rest of us in our mothers’ wombs with personal inadequacies as part of our packaging.
The apostle Paul, in the New Testament, also complained about an undefined issue: his “thorn in the flesh.” God answered by saying it was in Paul’s weakness that God’s power is most evident—the thorn was to keep the apostle from conceit.
Is this, perhaps, the way God works with all of us? Do we feel inadequate because we are inadequate? The answer will always be “yes.” God uses our needs to sharpen our focus on him.
I remember the day God challenged me about my own discontent as I read Isaiah 45. He was not happy with me: “Woe to him who strives with him who formed him” (verse 9). While the verse spoke of a coming king named Cyrus the principle also applied to me and the message came through loud and clear: “I’ve heard enough from you, my son—no more of this.”
Here’s a take-home lesson. In God’s love he calls us to relax, no matter how inadequate we are, while he carries us forward in the adventure of faith. He means to fill the role of God for us. And we find joy in it once we say, “Okay, Lord, I trust you.”
Moses went on to a full set of life challenges and complexities—and so will we—but he finally took on his intended role and we’re all the better for it. May each of us do the good works we were prepared for in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:10) and, by faith, add our own part (whether small or large) to the whole. No more grumbling, please!