Self-doubt. Inadequacy. Not-enoughness. Sound familiar?
Whether you’re 17 or 70, this seems to be a universal part of the human condition that never seems to go away.
Even one of Israel’s greatest leaders, Moses, suffered from it.
When God told Moses to tell the Israelites that He’d deliver them from their cruel Egyptian slave masters, look at how he responded:
- “They won’t trust me. They won’t listen to a word I say. They’re going to say, ‘God? Appear to him? Hardly!’” (Exodus 4:1 MSG)
- “O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I never have been, and I’m not now….I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled.” (Exodus 4:10 NLT)
Moses thought himself a clumsy speaker, and doubted that the Israelites—much less their enemy king Pharaoh—would listen to him. Even his older brother Aaron had to be his spokesperson for a while.
And on one occasion, when negotiations with Pharaoh didn’t go so well, Moses got frustrated and blamed God: “Why have you brought all this trouble on your own people, Lord? Why did you send me? Ever since I came to Pharaoh as your spokesman, he has been even more brutal to your people. And you have done nothing to rescue them!” (Exodus 5:22–23 NLT) (Do his complaints sound familiar to your own?)
But still. But still. That didn’t stop the Lord from using Moses mightily in eventually delivering the Israelites. If you read his story in Exodus, you’ll see how he continued to boldly tell Pharaoh multiple times, “Let my people go!”, and negotiated with the king throughout the ten plagues that the Lord sent upon Egypt.
Impressive for someone who called himself a stutterer and stammerer, eh.
And eventually, upon the Lord’s direction, Moses picked up his staff, raised his hand over the Red Sea, and God parted it to allow the Israelites to pass through on dry land, and escape Pharaoh’s pursuing chariots. You have to check out this mind-blowing story in Exodus 14.
Even though Pharaoh’s armies still chased them into the sea, the Lord told Moses to raise his hand over the sea again when the Israelites had reached the other side safely. The seawaters then rushed back together and drowned Pharaoh’s entire army. (Exodus 14:26)
All this, when Moses was 80 years old.
Does this story of a flawed man who was still mightily used by God encourage you? Even just before Moses split the Red Sea upon God’s directive, he was still said to be crying out to God because the Israelites, seeing that Pharaoh’s armies were in hot pursuit, asked him, “Because there were no graves in Egypt, have you taken us away to die in the wilderness?” (Exodus 14:11, 15)
From the first day the Lord called him till he breathed his last, Moses was always aware (and perhaps sheepish or embarrassed) about his weaknesses as a leader. But this was a man of whom the Lord said when he died at 120, that no prophet has arisen in Israel like him, whom the Lord knew face to face. (Deuteronomy 34:10 NASB)
Perhaps growth in our Christian walk is really about this: Growing more aware of our inadequacy, but also knowing that those feelings of inadequacy cannot stand in the way of God using us to do great things for Him.
As the Lord told Paul, another great leader in the Bible—My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected, completed, and shows itself most effectively in your weakness.” (see 2 Corinthians 12:9 AMP)
Knowing you are weak doesn’t have to make you feel discouraged with yourself, but it can encourage you to discover the Lord’s strength and how much you can depend on Him to be enough where you cannot.
You have a God who loves you and wants to provide for you.