We are finite beings. We have limits, and we make mistakes. Sometimes, if not all the time, we are not able to do what God has called us to do.

No one knew that better than Moses.

In his youth, Moses killed and buried an Egyptian who tormented one of his own, a Hebrew. Then his deed was uncovered and the Pharaoh wanted him dead. So Moses ran away and spent the next forty years in the desert.

And that’s where God, in a burning bush, met with Moses.

In a dry place, outside of his native home, with neither palace nor accolade, watching over sheep that weren’t even his, Moses met with the living God who asked him to do something way above his pay grade.

“Go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.” (Exodus 3:10)

After that command, Moses probably took a step back, looked around and realized only miles of sand and a herd of sheep surrounded him and the burning bush.

It was certain that God was talking to him, but Moses was equally convinced that God had the wrong person. So he decided to correct Him.

“Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (verse 11)

We do the same thing, don’t we?

We know that God has called us and asked specifically for us to accomplish a task, but we take in the huge order He’s calling us to fill and make the unanimous decision that Someone made a drastic mistake.

So like Moses, we ask, “But who are we that You would ask such a thing of us?”

And God replies to us with the same answer He gave Moses thousands of years ago: “I will be with you.” (verse 12)

But I don’t have enough?

I will be with you.

But I don’t know anyone?

I will be with you.

But I didn’t come with the right thing.

I will be with you.

God doesn’t look at our resumes, our skills or our incapabilities. When He asks us to do something, He’d already counted the cost. There is no need for us to go over the plan with a fine-tooth comb. He already knows what it will take for us to do what He’s asked of us.

While we look at the gaps in His plans (He wants me to do what now?), God sees Himself filling the gaping holes in us so that we are empowered to do what He said.

We’re right when we say that we can’t but God absolutely can. We should never forget that.

“With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)

Even in our mistakes, and in our wrongs and in our lack, God certainly can.

That is the power of grace. Grace doesn’t hold us to the level of perfection we so desperately cling ourselves to. Grace doesn’t expect us to figure it out on our own and do it in our own strength. Grace doesn’t hold our past against us.

How can grace do that when He already died for our sins?

Instead, grace comes in and fills us to completion. Grace comes in and becomes our strength. Grace comes in and shines bright in our jars of clay.

There are always two sides of a situation. Like a coin, we can flip the perspective. We can either focus on the missing parts and talk ourselves out of God’s plan. Or we can trust His grace and join Him.

The Word 1.0

People forget the power of words, I think as I watch their conversation unfold.

TI is on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. They had discussed the shocking imagery from TI’s new video, “War Zone”—where it depicts the all too familiar scenes of police officers killing innocent, unarmed people— when Noah asks TI the dreaded question that comes up when blacks are too vocal about the brutality against us.

“How is this helping the dialogue?”

How is this helping the dialogue when there is black on black crime? How is this helping when hip-hop lyrics are riddled with bullets just like the ones that litter our streets? How, when the hostility, the disdain for the police oozes out of the speakers? When the images the music portrays aren’t different from the real-life scenes that elicit our outrage?

How can we critique it when we condone it in our music?

In his answer, TI shares that hip-hop finds its roots in reflecting its environment. Then he says, “If you want to change the content of the music, change the environment of the artist and he won’t have such negative things to say.”

People forget their power over words— the phrase plays over and over in my head as I take in TI’s words.

I couldn’t agree with him because throughout history, the Word never took its cue from its environment.

In the beginning, in the chaos and darkness, God stood over the earth.
(And He still stands over it all, now)

Empty and formless with deep, churning waters, it all laid at God’s feet and He spoke to it.

He didn’t call the earth as He saw it. His first words to it weren’t of disorder, confusion or absence. God didn’t call it as He saw it in the natural.

“Let there be light,” He said.

Before that moment, light never existed on earth but that didn’t stop God from calling it out. And it didn’t stop light from appearing. It came forth and filled the expanse of what we call home all because the Word took lead.

Power rests in our words and they don’t have to follow our environment.

We all know the story of Abraham and Sarah and no one knew it better than God.

God saw Sarah and He knew her.

Past child-bearing years, light-years away from actually having reasonable hope to conceive, Sarah listened to Abraham recount his encounter with God and the promise that their offspring will surpass the number of stars in the sky. Little did either of them know, the star-filled night rested inside her womb.

What she thought was impossible, God said— with Him, through Him, in Him— everything is possible. Out of her womb came the nations that rivaled the stars all because God spoke it.

She was old but God called Sarah a mother; and Issac, the promised one, came from the same womb that disappointed her for decades.

The environment never dictates the Word. The Word shapes the environment. We have to remember that this is the power we hold.

We hold the same power that God used in the graveyard.

In a valley, full of dried bones, God asked Ezekiel, “Can these bones live?”

In this violence, in this madness and anger and frustration, God asks us the same, “Can these bones live?”

Can these bones live in the disappointment, in the uncertainty, in the disorder? Can they live?

What does the environment say? What does the Word say?

More importantly, which will we echo? Which will we allow to reverberate inside our ribcages? Which will we invite to vibrate against our hearts?

Yes, God sees the division and the reality just like He saw the emptiness of both Sarah’s womb and the world.

He sees what we see.

But His question is still the same: “Can these bones live?”

God said yes then. He still says yes now.

The power of life and death was never in the environment. It’s in our words. It rolls off our tongues. Because God lives in us, the power will always originate from us.

When we are in Him and He’s in us, His power is for us and will come out of us.

And we never have to be in agreement with dire situations.

It’s shocking to say, quite blasphemous to how the world works to point out that the current circumstance has no say in any matter.

It only has the power when we yield to it in agreement, when we call out what we see.

Where do we get this annoying habit to be so observant?

Not from God.

He stood at the brink of emptiness and called out light. From a defunct womb, He spoke out a child. He revealed Himself to Gideon, a quivering, small minded man, and named him a mighty warrior.

Forgotten by his own father because he was out with the sheep, David was anointed king by the King. A graveyard full of dried bones, dead hope, forgotten dreams and dimmed visions rose again to a stature far beyond its prime— a graveyard became a promise land— because God said, “Breathe again. Live again.”

We don’t live by bread alone but by the word of the Living God.

Any situation we encounter is not life or death. It doesn’t have that power. We do.

An environment might scream death but life comes forth if we speak it out.

Let’s speak out what God says and watch the change come.