Living the life of a shepherd and nomad, Moses learned about the ways of the people he would eventually be called to lead and also about life in the desert. Moses couldn’t appreciate this lesson, but God was preparing him to free Israel from Pharaoh's grasp.
In Exodus 4, God asks Moses what was in his hand. He then proceeds to use what Moses had which was a shepherd's staff. God likes to use our past experiences along with what is in our hand. Moses’ years of tending sheep were not useless. God used those years to place experiences in Moses’ life that he could later draw on to bring God glory. Moses was a shepherd and he always carried a staff. So what did God use to show his miraculous signs? What Moses already had in his hand! Moses just had to lean in and trust God with what was there. A simple stick, but with obedience and trust that staff will go on to help Moses lead God’s people out of bondage.
Moses wasn’t just a prince or just a shepherd, his past occupation didn’t define him. God made him for more. It is so easy for me to question if all of nursing school and my time working as a nurse was just wasted years. But the truth is that God prepares us in ways that we may not understand. Those years of learning and working in the medical field were not useless. When I had a high risk pregnancy and my son spent two months in the NICU, my background in nursing helped me immensely. The years I spent taking care of new babies as a nurse helped me to not be as scared as a first-time mom. The care and compassion I learned while taking care of patients is something that I still use to this day.
I am learning to trust God to use what I have in my hands and the knowledge I carry from my past. Just like Moses I am not defined by my past occupation. I am not just a nurse or just a mom. God also made me for more. I don’t know if I will ever go back to working as a nurse, but I know that God will continue to use that time of my life and those experiences for what He has planned for me.
God uses the ordinary things in our lives for extraordinary purposes! So friend, what do you have in your hand? Something from today or something from your past. It can be a pen, a broom, a book, a stethoscope, a classroom. Remember, God made you for more as well and if we lean in and trust God with these ordinary everyday things, God can do immeasurable things not only for us but also in the lives of others! The decision Moses made by the burning bush to lean in and trust God saved an entire nation.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” Ephesians 3:20 (NIV)
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