I loved that navy blue Crown Victoria. Its plush velvet upholstery cradled my often weary body as I ran errands, picked up kids and volunteered at our local church. It replaced the small Ford Fairlane after 90,000 miles and fabric from its roof drifted down over the heads of me and our three small children.
Temperatures hovered just above freezing. It was a Saturday two weeks before Christmas and my head filled with plans for the day. My husband was home after his seismic job unexpectedly cancelled. Ice formed on the car with a light freezing drizzle. But plans were plans, so I jumped in the car to pick up our daughter from a friend’s house.
My turn off the highway was just across an overpass. As I drove over the slight rise, I gently touched the brake. My new blue ride and I floated into oncoming traffic.
A semi-truck approached, but moved to the other lane, just in time to avoid me. A small Toyota plowed into my car. The impact hit the passenger side of my car, crushing the vehicle into a horse-shoe crumble of metal. The other driver died in the emergency room hours later, separated from me by a curtain.
The accident plundered me. Comfort alluded my every gaze upward, around, anywhere I knew to look. Black despair swallowed me for days.
Moses had obeyed God through all the plagues. The people were out of Egypt and moving forward. Then the dust of hundreds of Egyptian chariots billowed on the horizon behind them. Wild desperation gripped thousands of people.
God’s direction to Moses was clear and simple. Lift up your staff and stretch out your hand over the insurmountable barrier. Make a path through the impossible for My people to cross over.
Sometimes accounts in the Bible are so fantastic, we discount their value for us. But they are visuals for today. We may not have an army pursuing us. At times, though, circumstances arise on our horizon, threatening like swarms of chariot dust. Far outside our control, they are not only contrary to our plans, they contend for our very lives.
The loss of that man’s life was more than I could bear. A family looked at their Christmas meal with an empty seat at the table. They planned a funeral when they should have been baking and shopping. Their lives would never be the same.
The greatest humility I learned was at that time. It was when I chose to receive the Lord’s comfort. I didn’t feel like I deserved it. I was consumed with “What if’s…” My bruised and aching body didn’t compare to the pain in my heart.
In Exodus 14:26 I read that Moses stretched out his hand, not the staff, over the sea. What happened to the staff? Then I understood a truth that changed me. I saw that Moses had become the staff.
The good, the bad and the ugly prepared the staff, Moses. This flesh and blood man became a vehicle for God’s plan. Even when a nation rose up and said, “Are you crazy? You’re leading us all to our graves,” Moses trusted God’s calling. His submitted heart obeyed God in the worst of times. In turn, God poured out His power. Moses became a staff of deliverance in the hands of the living God.
It takes humility to let the Lord form us into His vessel when we know personally how bereft we are. He said, “Purchase from Me gold refined by fire, fine linen garments to cover your shame, and oil to anoint your eyes so you can see.” (Revelation 3:18)
Our lives carry purchasing power. I couldn’t purchase comfort from the world at that time. It wasn’t there to offer. But I could learn to receive the gold He brought out of that fiery furnace. I could be forgiven and clothed with His clean white garments. My eyes could be anointed to see Him in ways that healed me and others in the years to come.
My body healed. My heart healed. I learned to use the currency of my life to purchase from Him what the world couldn’t give me. I was not my own. I was bought with a price. I submitted my agendas, my love and my devotion to Him. In the process He formed a staff. It wasn’t something outside of my grasp. It was me.
May you be safe and warm this holiday season as He forms you as a staff in His hands.