Whenever I visit someone’s home, I always love to walk through their family rooms and hallways and look at their pictures. The snapshots that are proudly displayed there are usually the moments when the family is captured at their best. I often wonder where they were when the picture was taken and what they were doing. What were they thinking about and how were they feeling?
We recently had family photographs taken with my husband’s entire side of the family on the grounds of the Claremont Colleges in southern California. It took literally hundreds of attempts to capture just one single shot where all of us were looking at the camera with expressions that displayed some sort of normalcy. With ages ranging from six months to sixty-six years, the participants’ abilities to understand the point of capturing the perfect image was quite diverse. My mother in law proudly posted some of her favorites on her Facebook page with many people commenting what a beautiful and happy family she has. We laughed thinking of all of the labor and patience it took to encapsulate on film such a blissful scene!
While those photos are a wonderful memorial of what our family looked like in 2012, it is literally such a small picture of who we actually all are. The background of the immaculately landscaped college is a far cry from the dish piled, dust-covered, cluttered kitchen in which I spend most of my days trying to maintain some semblance of order. The perfectly matching clothes, neatly pressed and all tucked in do not reflect the frumpiness that is felt when I slip on my old jeans that seem to get a little tighter every time I don them. And the wide grins plastered across all of our faces? They don’t give you an inkling of an idea of the arguments that went on combing our hair and putting on our shoes. You cannot behold our faces and know the worry that floods our minds when our heads hit the pillow at night, or the unspoken things that we long to say to one another that we just can’t seem to find the right time nor the words to formulate to bring it out in the open. It’s a snapshot. There is so much more behind the scenes when we aren’t standing still, looking our best, and posing for the camera. There are emotions, hopes, dreams, and scars. There are expectations, desires and disappointments. While we all stand in the photo individually next to one another, the reality of a family, is that we are all so intertwined, we often don’t know where we ourselves stop and our family begins.
When we look at the snapshots of people in scripture we can take it at face value or we can try to get into the person’s mind. To jump into their own family photos and try to understand the dynamics of all that is going on there. As we do so, we will relate to them in a much more meaningful way and begin to apply their life experiences in following God to our own individual circumstances. The life of Moses provides such a marvelous opportunity to explore family dynamics. I don’t think there are many familial situations today that Moses didn’t experience himself. And not just his biological family, but also his adopted family and ultimately his spiritual family: the nation of Israel.
Moses’ ministry came from a series of difficult relationships and ended with the most glorious relationship in history: friendship with God Almighty. study of the life of Moses isn’t merely about the tremendous way he was used by God, it is about basking in the marvelous way he experienced relationship with God. We can all learn much from walking through life with Moses. Why? Because we all live in the context of relationships: family, friends, coworkers, ministry partners, and neighbors. I would dare bet that like Moses, those relationships are often messy, confusing, frustrating and disappointing. Sometimes they can even be heartbreaking or destructive. Moses experienced all of those emotions through his human relationships and guess what? He sought the LORD in the midst of it and discovered that his relationship with the LORD was the only one that brought some wholeness to all of the other broken ones. If not wholeness, well then, at least acceptance.
And what happened as a result? Moses was transformed. He became radiant. His life reflected the beauty, truth and goodness of His Creator. He finally found in the presence of the LORD the one thing that his heart had always longed for: complete and perfect love. So how about you? Have you got some messy relationships? Have you been hurt, disappointed or rejected? Do you desire for some healing but you feel stuck in a cycle that just keeps repeating itself? Then jump into the life of Moses. Glean from his experiences and follow his wisdom. Become radiant!