Modern Western Civilization has gifted its citizens a vision of life. The model life consists of a series of smooth transitions from one milestone to the next. We progress through school, find our soulmate and at the right time start a family, launch a career that has us in a senior management by age 50, and then then retire comfortably to travel and spend time with grandchildren.
Thanks to this gift, many of us evaluate our lives and come away with a sense of failure. We don’t measure up.
We can’t measure up.
The gift is an optical illusion.
We often talk of life as a journey. More accurately, life is a series of journeys. These journeys seldom form a straight line. We don’t journey ‘as the bird flies’. Our journeys consist of obstacles, contours, and changes of direction. They’re erratic rather than linear.
Like Abraham, we often think of Moses as seeking a land. Like Abraham, he never possessed the land he spent so much time seeking.
But Moses’ life didn’t have a singular focus.
Bible students often divide Moses life into approximately 40 years in Egypt, 40 years in Midian, and 40 years leading Israel. In the chart below I’ve divided his life into more stages based on the goal he pursued in each stage. Probably more stages could be added.
When you think of Moses, you may picture him at the burning bush, or before Pharaoh, or watching the Red Sea Part. You may picture Moses walking down Mt Sinai with the 10 Commandments, or smashing them over the golden calf. You might picture Moses as Charlton Heston, or as the cartoon Prince of Egypt. Most of us have an iconic image of Moses in our minds.
However, all those images capture Moses at a moment in time. Moses’ life resembles many of ours. There was no steady career/family/education curve toward success. Whatever our snapshot it doesn’t define his life as a whole. Moses never achieved what many would consider his life goal: entering the Promised Land. But Moses succeeded in reaching many of the intermediate goals he sought.
If your life doesn’t seem to be following the path you expect, toward the goals you’re seeking, don’t panic. Don’t compare your life to culture’s curve. Remember that Moses, the great man of God, continually change his life course and never reached his ultimate goal. It’s more likely that the problem is with your expectations than with you. Trust God and He’ll accompany you wherever your journey takes you.
I believe Moses’ famous words in Deuteronomy 31 speak of his personal experience of walking with God through so many different stages of life.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” ~ Moses