In recent weeks, staff and volunteers at Glasgow City Mission have been reading the story of Moses and the burning bush. God is catching Moses’ attention, because he has something to tell him. He wants Moses to do something about the enslavement of the Hebrew people – to lead them into freedom. Moses tries to wriggle out of it, but God doesn’t let him. When Moses tells the Hebrews that God knows about their suffering and is concerned for them, they praise God. At last, there is some hope.
When Pharaoh is asked to give the slaves some time off, however, he refuses. He accuses the Hebrews of being lazy, and makes the working conditions even harder. When production inevitably decreases, the Egyptian overseers beat the Hebrew supervisors, who then turn on Moses. Moses complains to God that he hasn’t done what he said he would do. God, however, doesn’t tell Moses to stop complaining – he listens, repeats his promise, and sends Moses back. But the Hebrews are too discouraged to listen to promises of freedom; it’s easier to stay as they are.
When we are in a difficult situation, it is tempting to want God to do things instantly for us. Often, however, God wants us to be courageous and step out in faith, trusting in him. But change is always risky, and when the going gets tough, we can become scared. We give up at the first hurdle. The upheaval of change, the losses that can be involved, and the discomfort of uncertainty can prohibit us from taking the necessary steps.
In her book, The Other Side of Chaos, Margaret Silf writes,
“What lies on the other side of chaos? Can an apparently negative experience of change be, for us, too, the catalyst for a new beginning, calling us forward into deeper freedom? No one knows, and none can predict. We will discover that new growth may be sprouting in our lives only if we risk the journey that takes us, like reluctant time travellers, hurtling through the uncharted universe of change. Transitions are never comfortable.”
We know that the Hebrews were eventually set free, but that the journey was far from easy. Moses has to trust God and persevere. Today, many people are longing for change in their lives. They long for freedom from addictions or unhealthy relationships or from people who oppress and exploit them, but they are afraid of the upheaval and loss that this might bring about. It is easier to stay in a bad situation than to break free. At Glasgow City Mission, our project staff know that it takes courage to face change, and that people cannot do it on their own. They are committed to supporting those who are on the challenging but life-giving road to freedom. Please pray for those who have had the courage to embark on the journey of change, and for our staff who walk alongside them.