Every Beginning is Difficult!

Exodus 3:1-4, 13

We may feel a little anxious at the beginning of a new year. We don’t know what lies ahead or what situations await us. Perhaps we even anticipate some of what is to come – a doctor’s appointment at which we don’t expect good news, a move that doesn’t promise happiness, and so on. These things may weigh on us, making the future seem formidable.

Perhaps we recall our first day of school. How difficult the beginning was! Who would be our teacher? Who would the children in our class be? Would there be a bully among them who would make our life difficult? But after a few days or weeks, we found that we actually enjoyed going to school.

Perhaps we also recall our first day at work. School days are behind us, and now we must work. The workplace is completely unfamiliar to us. What will the employer be like? What about the supervisor? What will my colleagues be like? Will I even manage? But after a few weeks, you settle in, and now perhaps you have worked there for decades.

The same can happen in our spiritual life. I remember how, as a youth, I used to eagerly attend the youth meetings until our youth leader, Brother Berndt, took me aside and said, “Harvey, you should pray publicly during the youth meetings!” My German was so poor, and I had only recently started attending the meetings. In addition to that, some of the young people were unfamiliar to me. However, the brother’s urging stayed with me: “You should pray publicly!” The next Friday, I went to the youth meeting with trepidation. When the time for prayer came, I prayed with a trembling voice, and I thank God—because I became a man who prays.

I recall another experience from my youth. I lived in a rented house with a brother who also attended the church services. He was old enough to be my father, but we became good friends as we both worked at the university. He used to drive me to church every Sunday. Everything went smoothly until one Sunday on our way to church, out of the blue, he said, “Harvey, you should tithe.” Until then, I had considered him a wise man, but now I began to doubt. However, he continued telling me about people who started tithing and how God blessed them. He knew how often the month felt too long for me and my paycheck too short. In fact, several times I had to borrow a few dollars from him until the next payday. And now, he wanted to burden me with this! I didn’t remember much from the sermon that Sunday. Those words kept echoing in my mind. When I was finally alone in my room, I knelt down and promised God that from then on, I would always tithe. At first, it was difficult. I had to park my car for about 6 months because I couldn’t afford the insurance. But after that, it was as if God truly opened the windows of heaven (Malachi 3:10). And since then, I have never been in need again (Luke 22:35).

I want to bring to mind a man who faced a difficult beginning:

God met Moses in the desert and gave him the command: “Lead the children of Israel out of Egypt!” I can imagine how Moses felt when he heard the word “Egypt.” There, in his zeal for the people of Israel, he had killed an Egyptian. Consequently, he fled from Pharaoh to save his life. Now he was being asked to appear before Pharaoh with this request. That could mean certain death.

But God insisted: “You must go!” Then Moses brought up his big excuse: “I am slow of speech and tongue!” But God knows us and knows what He can accomplish through us. After 10 plagues that God allowed to be inflicted on Egypt, Moses, with the people of Israel, was on the way to the desert. Moses had wonderful experiences with God in the desert and learned many things.

Moses, who thought he couldn’t speak properly, learned to speak (please read Deuteronomy 32 and 33). What seemed difficult and almost impossible to him became possible through God’s grace, and he became a blessing to many people.

Dear reader, does the future—the beginning of the new year—seem difficult or almost impossible to you? God has promised to be with us every day until the end. Just as He has helped in the past, He also intends to help in the future. Paul says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). Look to Him, and confidently enter the New Year with Him!

Harvey Elke

Kelowna, BC

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