Strengthening the soul
By Bishop L. Jonathan Holston
“Moses used to take the Tent and set it up outside the camp, some distance away...Anyone who sought God would go to the Tent of Meeting outside the camp. It went like this … whenever Moses entered the Tent, the Pillar of Cloud descended to the entrance to the Tent and God spoke with Moses. All the people would see the Pillar of Cloud at the entrance to the Tent, stand at attention, and then bow down in worship … And God spoke with Moses face-to-face, as neighbors speak to one another … Moses said to God, ‘… You tell me, ‘I know you well and you are special to me.’ If I am so special to you, let me in on your plans … ’ God said, ‘My presence will go with you. I’ll see the journey to the end.’—Exodus 33:7-14 (NIV)
In this fast-paced, instant gratification culture that we live in, there is an underlying pressure to prove our worth and produce immediate results. YouTube videos and highlight reels expedite the process of growth and transformation in order to skip straight to the excitement of the finished product.
A person’s weight loss journey is depicted in only two photos, side by side for comparison. An entire home can go from cluttered to organized in seconds, and a mural is painted in a day. An Olympian’s lifetime of hard work, dedication and sacrifice is reduced to a brief interview with a few selected photos flashing on the screen.
There is a desire to race to the end. To achieve the “happily ever after” and have a beautiful story to tell.
But what if the process matters more than the results? What if the journey has a bigger impact than a specific destination?
As followers of Christ, our call is to be faithful—to be focused on Christ rather than focusing on what society claims it means to be successful. When we reorient ourselves in this way—turning toward Jesus—we can release the pressure to follow a specific narrative.
In leading the Israelites out of Egypt to the land God had promised, Moses’ journey was anything but direct. The 40-year trek included many instances of “recalculating” and “rerouting.” And yet, throughout the generations, in the midst of setbacks and detours, sickness, challenges and anger amongst the Israelites, Moses prioritized time for prayer—for talking with God.
Moses reoriented himself toward faithfulness.
In order to lead others to Christ, we must first be in relationship with Christ ourselves. We must be confident in who we are and whose we are as children of God. This confidence comes only from spending time with God, from reorienting ourselves toward faithfulness.
We know ourselves when we know God. And when we know God, we know our worth. When we know our worth; when we are reoriented toward faithfulness; we no longer have to prove ourselves to the world.
When you don’t know what to do or where to turn next, turn to God. When your next steps are unclear, turn toward God.
The journey continues.