“The Lord said to him “This is the Land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob….I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not cross over there. Then Moses, the servant of the Lord, died there in the Land of Moab at the Lord’s command.” Deuteronomy 34:4-5
|Dead sea looking over to Jordan today.|
I ALWAYS felt sad when I read about Moses not entering into the Promised Land. To let him see, but not to cross felt cruel. I thought his punishment for striking the rock was a little harsh in the light of what the Israelites did over and over again (Num 20:12). It is just not fair. In the light of what Moses did, I am guilty of so much more. I fear if that’s what happens if you strike a rock instead of speak to it. I could relate to it more as Moses just giving the people a little drama to make the point as they seemed so easily discouraged and ready to blame God for everything. I understand why he would do that! Maybe Ministry has been a constant struggle as the dramatic in me has clearly stepped into spaces that probably cross that line a million times over.
I was encouraged recently when I read Ruth Barton’s book, “Strengthening the soul of your leadership,” as she eloquently penned my exact thoughts and the processing that I have felt numerous times this year.
“It’s possible that this could happen to me. That I, too, could work hard and serve long – straining toward the goal or dream – and that God might someday say to me, “you can look, but you can’t go in. You can long for it, but someone else will take it across the finish line. You might be the one who saw it, but someone else will take it the rest of the way. For anyone who has dreamed dreams and visions, this possibility is almost too much to bear.” (pg 213)
This year God has taken me on a journey, of letting go, of giving over my dreams for His dreams, of stepping into the wilderness again and trusting Him, of learning to pray the “prayer of the serene disciple” and of accepting that I may not be taking something to the finishing line, but to learn to be happy to cheer from the sidelines and support those who continue the dreams. For Moses, this had moved way beyond “punishment” or what he did or did not do. This was about acknowledging HIS story, and that we even get to play a part is simply a privilege.
As I read through the story of Moses again, I actually felt a peace and a sense that Moses wasn’t standing on that mountain with suddenness or a sense that he was “just a very naughty boy” (in the words of “Life of Brian”). I felt God show me through His eyes that the destination was not actually as important as the journey, and what we learn along the way. That in fact for Moses, the TRUE Promised Land was actually being with God……it was not a PLACE or country that made this so.
“Clearly something happened to Moses – he was so changed by the journey that he was completely at Peace with himself and God. Nothing of this world had any hold on him at all. ”. (R. Haley Barton, “Strengthening the soul of your leadership” pg 215)
I have known for a long time that it is more about the journey than the destination. I had just never considered NOT ever getting to the destination while here on earth that I would need to give that over and cheer others along. That maybe God has called me to watch from the sidelines was something I was not prepared for till now. It is one thing to come to the end of your life and know you have played your part, it is quite another to feel like you want to do so much more and God is saying “No, this is not what I have called you to. I want you to pass the baton and be the stagehand, a valued role, but very different to being on stage.”
While I am mixing my metaphors here… Leadership sure does have its twists and turns.
Lord help us to make sure YOU are always the LEADER and we are simply to say YES to YOU in the deepest way, wherever that takes us on the journey.
As Paul says in Philippians, “For to me, to live is Christ to die is gain” (vs 1:21, NIV)
Help me to LIVE for you, daily.