I still remember when Jeffrey (our son with special needs) was about 8 years-old. He had heard about upcoming baptisms at church, and told us he wanted to get baptized. We peppered him with questions to make sure he understood fully what baptism meant, and afterward felt in our hearts that the time was right.
He attended baptism classes with dad, which taught him in more depth and detail what baptism meant – how it signified a new birth in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).
And after the classes? Jeffrey was more excited than ever. He just couldn’t wait!
On his special day Jeffrey was last on the schedule, as it was going to be difficult getting him in and out of the baptismal since he was unable to put any weight on his legs.
Dad accompanied him, and between he and the pastor were able to lift Jeffrey up over the edges of tank. Then the pastor read Jeffrey’s testimony about why he wanted to be baptized; and asked him to confirm aloud that he believed in Jesus Christ, how He came to earth as a baby, died on the cross for our sins, and was raised to life the third day.
“Yes!” Jeffrey stated.
Then the pastor (with dad’s assistance) lowered him into the water, baptizing him in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. When Jeffrey arose his smile absolutely melted my mommy’s heart. He was grinning ear-to-ear, and once he was again facing the congregation he lifted his little fist in the air as if to say, “YES, VICTORY!”
I believe that day Jeffrey surrendered his heart and dreams to the God of the Burning Bush – through his belief in our Savior Jesus Christ.
And he stayed walking close to Jesus until he graduated from high school.
But then, as happens to many of us, frustration set in; and he started losing his focus…
The great Old Testament patriarch Moses literally had a Burning Bush moment with God. But with Moses, his experience wasn’t planned like Jeffrey’s was. Instead it came at a time when he was just living out his day doing what he’d been doing for about 40 years – tending sheep in the desert (Acts 7:23-30).
To learn about Moses you need to start back at Exodus 1:22. Pharaoh had issued strict orders that all Hebrew baby boys were to be killed. Moses was born shortly after.
Moses’ mother was a Hebrew, and after giving birth to her little baby boy exhibited faith that I can’t even imagine when she placed her son in a small basket in the Nile River. She believed God had a great plan for him, and trusted He would watch over him as he floated in the water.
And, it “just so happened” that Pharaoh’s daughter walked by shortly afterwards, discovering little baby Moses in his basket among the reeds in River. Her heart melted, and she took him home with her, where he was raised in the castle (Exodus 2:1-10).
But Moses knew he was a Hebrew and not an Egyptian, and when he got older went out one day and and saw how his people had been forced into slavery through hard labor. He witnessed an Egyptian beating one of the Hebrew men which made him angry; so when Moses thought no one was looking, he killed the Egyptian and hid his body (v. 11-13).
However the next day when he went out, he discovered two Hebrews fighting with each other! And when Moses confronted them about why they were fighting, it became clear to him that his murder the previous day of the Egyptian had been witnessed by at least one other person. He became frightened, and ran away to hide in the Midian desert.
But God was watching over his child (v. 11-25), just like He watches over us.
Which brings us to the Burning Bush.
As we saw above in the Acts passage, Moses had been tending sheep in Midian for about 40 years. That’s a really long time.
Did he ever think about God? Did he wonder whether shepherding was to be the calling of the rest of his life?
Whatever thoughts were running through his head, God had great plans for him, plans to prosper him, and give him hope (Jeremiah 29:11).
One day while he was out in the desert, Moses sees a bush on fire – but it’s not burning up! He wanders over to take a look, and then God Himself calls Moses by name from the bush. He informs Moses that he is to be the one who is going to set his fellow Hebrews free from their bondage in Egypt (Exodus 3:1-10).
And, as you continue reading through the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, you’ll see that even though Moses’ certainly didn’t feel like he was “good enough” for the calling God had placed on him, he obeyed. And God did indeed use Moses to free the Hebrews, and bring them to the Promised Land.
But it wasn’t easy! Moses was tested many times during his years spent leading the Israelites through the desert. At times he lost his temper, even questioning God about why he had to go through all the trials that he did.
Yet did you know that God can handle of our emotions – even our anger? He desires a personal relationship with all of us, and Moses had that. God trusted him (Numbers 12:5-8).
When Moses gets to the end of his life, he uses his last breath to bless the tribes of Israel. And here you can see he certainly remembered the day when God had spoken to him through the Burning Bush (Deuteronomy 33:16).
To Moses that day was unforgettable – it had marked him for life.
The story of Moses gives me hope for our son Jeffrey, because you can see how God never left Moses’ side – even through those many years wandering through the desert tending sheep. He knew Moses’ heart; and I know that He knows Jeffrey’s heart, as well.
After Jeffrey graduated from high school; God opened miraculous doors for him to move away to college. His hopes and dreams were high.
But once at college, he decided he didn’t need the fellowship of other believers any longer. He failed to join any Christian groups; and didn’t even feel the need to attend a church, or even watch services online.
After all, he was just too busy trying to get good grades and have the social life which he felt he had been missing out on for so many years.
But does that mean God has forgotten him? Not at all – He knows who are His; yet He will not force Himself on anyone. It’s up to us all individually to make the choice to turn from our sins and come back to Him (2 Timothy 2:19).
Friends, no matter how long we’ve known the God of the Burning Bush (I’m going on 30 years), there are going to be times when our faith begins to slip. Questions come. Does God really care about me and what’s going on in my life?
Yet we must keep trusting – as best we can.
Even John the Baptist when imprisoned began to question if Jesus was really who He said He was (Luke 7:18-19). If Jesus was really the Savior – and was all powerful and greater than all – why were things going as they were? Why didn’t Jesus strike all the evil down and start rescuing His people?
But God’s timing and ways are so different than ours (2 Peter 3:8-9)!
When we stand by our own ideas of how and when God should be doing things, a lot of times we find our hearts shattered. However to have faith means we must rest in what God has already promised us. We must trust.
Moses had to have had many questions during his years of wandering the desert – who wouldn’t have? Yet when God finally called to him through the Burning Bush, Moses didn’t hesitate to answer (Exodus 3:4).
And He obeyed what God called him to do; even though he questioned things at times.
As for Jeffrey? I believe the day will come when he will hear his Savior calling him back to remembrance of the Burning Bush, as well (John 10:3). I believe Jeffrey will once again remember the day when he first met Jesus, his Lord.
In closing, do you remember when you met our Heavenly Father? It’s so easy to forget that He loves us more than we can imagine when our lives are filled with day-to-day stress.
So sit down and take a minute. Go back. Reflect on when and where you met Him, and how wonderful it made you feel.
Jesus is waiting for you.