Overwhelmed…

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Exodus 31:The LORD spoke to Moses: 2 See, I have called by name Bezalel son of Uri son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah: 3 and I have filled him with divine spirit, with ability, intelligence, and knowledge in every kind of craft, 4 to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, 5 in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, in every kind of craft. 6 Moreover, I have appointed with him Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan; and I have given skill to all the skillful, so that they may make all that I have commanded you: 7 the tent of meeting, and the ark of the covenant, and the mercy seat that is on it, and all the furnishings of the tent, 8 the table and its utensils, and the pure lampstand with all its utensils, and the altar of incense, 9 and the altar of burnt offering with all its utensils, and the basin with its stand, 10 and the finely worked vestments, the holy vestments for the priest Aaron and the vestments of his sons, for their service as priests, 11 and the anointing oil and the fragrant incense for the holy place. They shall do just as I have commanded you. 

This section of Exodus is a bit tedious. Starting at about chapter 25 the Lord gives Moses detailed instructions on the construction of God’s tabernacle. The tabernacle was the mobile meeting place of God, used while the Israelites wandered in the desert wilderness for 40 years. Once the people settled into the land of Canaan, a more permanent fixed meeting place was constructed – the temple in Jerusalem. But in the meantime, they had to use a portable tabernacle.

What gets my attention this morning is not just the detailed nature of God’s instruction, but the resources God makes available so the task might be completed. That’s how God works, by the way. God doesn’t give us a task then leave us without the things we need to get the job done. With the call to action comes the provision to see it through.

There’s a young couple in the church I lead who recently had their first child. I saw them after worship yesterday and made it a point to say hello. They looked… well, exhausted. These are two very bright, capable people. They readied themselves as well as anyone can in preparation for their little one, but the reality has been even harder than they thought. Little sleep. Baby having trouble getting on a schedule. Personal doubts. Stress in the home. It’s no fun. Now, it’s been a while since we’ve had a newborn in the house, but I definitely remember the challenge of those years.

There have been many times when I’ve prayed with new parents as they stood next to me in tears. In a few cases I had prayed with these same people for the Lord to bless them with children in the first place. And in those prayers I always thank the Lord for this enormously important calling of parenthood. I also remind the parents that God never asks us to do something without giving us every resource to succeed. There’ve been many times when I’ve been the one who needed reminding.

I’m wondering if some of you readers might be in that place right now, for any number of reasons. You have a job to do, one you believe God assigned to you, but you’re having a hard time. You’re making lots of mistakes. You feel incompetent, unprepared, losing hope. If that’s you, take heart dear sister/brother. This prayer is for you.

Gracious God, we thank and praise you for your faithfulness to your children in goods times and bad. Frankly, for some of us, things aren’t going so well. We are struggling at home, at work, in a relationship, with our health, with our finances, with our faith in You. Some days we wonder if we’re going to make it. Lord, give us grace to lean into You, to seek your guidance in prayer, to ask you for the strength to carry on when we want to give up. Bear us up as you have done in the past. We pray this in Jesus’ holy name. Amen.

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