Imagine a hairy, putrid green imp, fangs dripping with slime, smelling like gangrene, sitting on your shoulder day and night. It sneers at your best attempts, accuses your finest motives, and tears down your confidence with constant slams. This imp is not born out of an active imagination. There is an evil accuser.
Heaven speaks, in fact, it shouts about this very issue. Revelation records it.
Then I heard a loud voice shouting across the heavens. It has come at last – salvation, power, God’s kingdom and Christ’s authority, because the accuser of our brothers and sisters has been thrown down, the one who accuses them before God day and night. (Revelation 12:10)
We’ve heard that accuser before. “You can’t do that. You failed the last time you tried.” Or, even worse, “You are a failure. Just stop trying.”
What if we heard God’s voice day and night, instead? His wisdom speaks every time we open the Bible. His perfect love topples fear, so we don’t have to hide in shame. Jesus made sure of that. Our yes to Him opens a road of adventure we never imagined.
God didn’t meet Moses in the wilderness to fix him tea and pat his back. He didn’t even offer a sermon. His message of freedom from the accuser came with an assignment. It was one that challenged him, one that he couldn’t do without God. It was one even failure prepared him for. Steeped in perfect love, it ignored the whines of a deliverer in hiding. No counseling, just a question, “What is in your hand?”
This shepherd’s staff didn’t look like much, but Moses knew how to use it. He didn’t go to work without it. It not only kept the sheep from wandering into dangerous terrain, it protected them from predators. The wilderness trained Moses to defend and protect a flock of sheep. God promoted him to shepherd of a nation. The staff was key to both.
The staff looked far too ordinary to become a vehicle for God’s power. What do we have in our hands we dismiss as too ordinary to be important? It may be an unexpected vehicle. I journaled for years every morning, writing down fresh understanding of what the Lord showed me. I taught, took lots of classes and shared what He showed me to anyone who would listen. But I never believed my writing would mean much to anyone but me. I undervalued the staff.
So what is your staff? It may look insignificant. It is not. It has the power to answer your accuser. Let it shout back in his slimy face. Let it say something loud, like, “I am treasured by God. I’m called to do the impossible. This ordinary life lived faithfully will set the captives free.” That shout agrees with God. We’ll get free in the process, free to become what we have always been – an adventure waiting to happen.