Secret strength

Some years ago I met a man who had spent a while in prison. He was quite open about the fact that he had done something wrong, even though at the time it seemed right to him, perhaps even heroic. During his time inside he had become a Christian and his life had been totally changed.

One evening I was visiting his family and I happened to notice a picture of him and his wife standing outside Buckingham Palace. I was intrigued. So I asked what the occasion was. It turned out that he had been decorated for gallantry at one time in his career. He said it was something he did not talk much about. He explained that twice in his life he had acted on instinct. The first action had taken him to the palace, the second, to prison.

Exodus chapter 2 records how Moses, having acted instinctively to defend one of his own people ended up with a price on his head. He fled Egypt and, on reaching Midian, it seems that almost immedaitely he became embroiled in more conflict. As Reuel’s daughters are watering their flocks, some shepherds come along and try to stop them. Moses intervenes and drives the shepheds away. This time his intervention gains him a wife and a very positive connection with his father-in-law Reuel.

There was no questioning Moses’ courage or his strength. However, by the time God calls him back to Egypt (Exodus 3), both seem greatly diminished. What had gained him both favour and disfavour were not enough to enable him to fulfil the mission of God. He needed something more. Hebrews 11.27 explains what that “something” was:

 “By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible.”

Moses strength lay in His ability to keep his eyes fixed on an invisible God.

Our natural strengths, our humanity, can be a mixed blessing. It can achieve good results and help us realise desired objectives. But it can also get us into trouble. It can, at one extreme take us into palaces and, at the other extreme, drag us into prison. It’s a good servant, but a bad master.

We need something more if we are to be the influence God has called us to be in this world. We need an ability to see the invisible God. It is that kind of vision that provided secret strength for Moses. And it can provide secret strength for us. It fuels faith, undermines fear and nourishes perseverance.

Whether you think of yourself as strong and courageous or not, is really beside the point. Courage and strength aren’t enough in themselves. The gamechanger is the ability to see the One who is invisible.

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