Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Clones, Falling Globes, and Frustrated Callings

Suggested Reading: Exodus 5:1-6:12


The final season of Smallville started off with a great deal of hope that Clark Kent would finally become Superman. In fact, the iconic Superman suit made an appearance in that initial episode. Clark saved hundreds of people from being crushed by the spinning globe atop the Daily Planet building when an explosive knocked it from its perch high above the city and he did it in a fashion that resembled flying, the one power he didn't have the hang of yet. But he also became so angry with the man who set off the explosion (a clone of Lex Luthor) that he nearly killed him. When Clark, in his high spirits from saving the day decided to put on the Superman suit, the spirit of his Kryptonian father zapped him away to the Fortress of Solitude, pointing out his fit of anger as an example of the darkness inside him, declaring him unft to be a hero, and trapping the suit in a crystal enclosure that Clark couldn't open. In one fell swoop, both Clark and the audience that had waited ten years for him to finally become Superman were punched in the gut. Suddenly, Clark's transformation into Superman seemed farther away than ever.

Moses had a similar moment not long after he obeyed God's call to return to Egypt and demand that Pharaoh let his people go. Moses had gone to the Israelites, telling them of his encounter with God and they had believed him. But when Moses went to Pharaoh, Pharaoh laughed in his face and then upped the Israelites' work load just for spite. When the people complained about the added work, Pharaoh told them it was Moses' fault and so they stopped listening to him. When God told Moses to return to Pharaoh again, Moses objected, "My own people won't listen to me anymore. How can I expect Pharaoh to listen?"(Exodus 6:12, NLT). Moses had gone to Pharaoh like he had been instructed. Moses had delivered his message to Pharaoh and it had seemingly backfired. The Israelites had been forced to endure even more brutal conditions than before and had stopped listening altogether. To Moses, it must have seemed that the goal of freeing the Israelites from their slavery was even farther away than before. God had previously warned Moses that Pharaoh would not initially listen, but Moses' frustration overtook him anyway and he questioned whether he should even continue.

God's call upon our lives does not mean that everything will be easy or even that we will always seem to be moving forward. Sometimes God's call leads us down a brutal, trouble filled road. And when we experience those difficult times we cannot act surprised. Jesus described following God's call as abandoning one's life and he told us that the world would hate us because it hated him. One of the few things we were actually promised was that the road would be difficult. We can never make the mistake of expecting an easy path when we follow God's call on our lives. But we must also never make the mistake of doubting God's call just because things get tough or look impossible. Before Moses could free the Israelites from slavery, things had to get worse; a just and merciful God doesn't simply pour out his wrath on someone because he feels like it. Pharaoh had to have the chance to comply and refuse. The extra labor the Israelites were forced to endure was always part of God's plan, even if it didn't feel like it when the people started blaming Moses for their troubles.

Experiencing difficulty and setbacks does not mean that God has not called you to your task. Those troubles may be necessary for you to complete your task, even if your goal seems farther away than ever. Clark Kent did become Superman, Moses did lead his people to freedom, and you will accomplish the task God has called you to, if you don't give up.

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