Burning Bush Moment
Five years ago this summer, began a series of events that led to what I call my ‘burning bush moment’. It was during vacation Bible school. My sister and I were teaching the second grade class, and as we left the worship center the lady who was the director over VBS was crossing the campus. As I watched her, something strange happened.
Now I want to be clear before I continue. I’ve never heard an audible, booming voice of God, but every once in awhile, I do hear His still, small voice. I can always identify it, because He always says something that I know is not me. Sometimes it’s something that’s too smart or profound to be me. Other times it’s telling me to do something I wouldn’t aspire to do.
In that moment, as I watched the director walk across the campus, I heard that still, small voice say, “You’re going to do that someday.” I knew immediately that He was talking about being director of VBS, and although the idea of doing such a huge undertaking was intimidating, I was relieved by His use of the word ‘someday’. In my mind, this was five or even ten years down the road. In that time, I was sure God would provide ways to get better prepared and trained so that I wouldn’t feel quite so incompetent.
It wasn’t too long after that I found out that my idea of someday and God’s were two very different things. In a children’s ministry meeting, I learned that the VBS director was not coming back the next year because of scheduling conflicts. After this was announced, I felt that nudge you get when the Holy Spirit is working on you. I knew He was reminding me of what He had told me earlier, but I wasn’t ready. When they announced that they also needed a preschool director, I felt relieved. Surely this was what I needed to do. It would be training for what God had eventually called me to do. But that nagging feeling wouldn’t leave. I decided to pray about it.
Praying about seems like a godly thing to do, but I already knew what God wanted me to do. When I said I was going to “pray”, I really meant I was going to try to argue God into my way of thinking. For anyone who might be considering this course of action – it’s a bad idea.
I don’t normally ‘dialogue’ with God during my prayers. But at this time, I swear God spoke back to me. Our conversation went something like this –
Me: I think I’m going to tell them I’ll be the preschool director. I can handle that. VBS director is too much for me. This way I’ll be better prepared for when I do become the VBS director.
God: That’s not what I’ve called you to do.
Me: Yeah, but I’m not qualified for that, God. But I’m qualified for the preschool director position. I think it’d be the best place for me right now.
God: That is not what I have called you to do.
Me: Yes, but I’m not ready for that. I can do this. I can handle it. VBS director is just too big for me. So I’m going to go ahead and tell them that I’ll be the preschool director.
God: That is not what I’ve called you to do, and you know it!
After that our dialogue stopped, and it was just me trying to convince a brick wall that I was right. I knew I needed to make a decision so I sent an email to the director of children’s ministries. “If the preschool director position is still open, I really think that God wants me to serve in that position. If it’s not, I can be a teacher again.”
I don’t know why God didn’t zap me right then and there. Not only did I lie, but I defiantly turned my back on what I knew He was calling me to do. It’s only His mercy and long-suffering that prevented Him from punishing me. To make it worse, I had an attitude about it, too. You know how a child will ask their mom for a cookie before dinner, and of course, mom says no. So they go to grandma, and grandma graciously says yes. Then the child gives their mom a smug look that says, ‘Ha, ha. I got my way.’ I’m pretty sure that was the same look I gave to God as I pressed ‘send’ on my email. What I didn’t know is that He was up in heaven going, ‘Wanna bet?’ He loves His children too much to let them get away with something like that.
It didn’t take long to receive a reply. They told me that the preschool director position was still open and they’d be happy to have me fill it. However, they believed that God wanted me – and my sister – to co-direct VBS together. When I read the email I threw my head back and laughed. I couldn’t run from God any longer. Immediately, I wrote an email back that I agreed that was where God really wanted me, and I would be happy to take the position.
When I read the email, I thought of Moses at the burning bush. Like him I had a clear calling, but used every excuse in the book to try to get out of it. Finally in Exodus chapter four, God gets angry with Moses. I’m pretty sure that if my own story was written out that when it got to the point where I pressed send on the email it would read, “And the Lord became angry with Courtney.” But even though God was angry with Moses, He still made Moses do what He was called to do – He just allowed him to take Aaron with him. God still made me do what He had called me to do, but He allowed me to have my sister with me.
This summer will be my fourth year in this position, and God has done so much for me. One of the first things He taught me was the reason for all my excuses. I kept telling Him, “I can do this. I can handle that. I am qualified for this.” It was all about me. God didn’t want me to do something I could do. He wanted me to do something I could only do through Him. He has been faithful to bring me through year after year, often working in amazing ways.
When God calls you to do something that seems too hard, I’ve learned that He doesn’t throw you in the deep end to see if you’ll sink or swim. Instead, He’s like a father holding his child as they flail about trying to swim, but He has His hands on them the whole time keeping them afloat with His might. When God calls you to do a specific work, wonderful things will happen when you follow Him, trusting that He will work through you.