The Dirt On My Hands
I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt, and have heard their groaning, and I have come down to deliver them. And now come, I will send you to Egypt. Acts 7:34
Daily, I pray for those whom I know to still be struggling with addiction. I ask that God would do whatever it takes to draw them to faith and recovery, radically transforming them. In my imagination, God does all the work and if I’m involved with the process at all, it’s to get them help. Maybe one day, they’ll come to me, desperate for change, and I’ll point the way to inpatient treatment, where some counselor can take over. They’ll come out of treatment as new men, thanking me for my years of prayer.
That’s of course, not how it happens. Often, those whom I know to be struggling approach me, not to get sober, but for something else. They know I’m a sympathetic ear and they have other life needs. Can I get a ride? Can you help me with this? I should be used to it by now, but I’m still a little surprised when it happens. I ask God to change their lives and he sends them to me for help with the mundane. This isn’t what I prayed for God. You change them. You do the heavy lifting. I don’t want to get involved in their lives.
Today’s passage reveals the error of my thinking. In the story, Moses had fled Egypt 40 years earlier, when God spoke to him through a burning bush, proclaiming that it was time to deliver his people from Egyptian slavery. I’d bet that Moses was in support of this plan for one brief moment, until God explained the details. And now come, I will send you to Egypt.
Whether we like it or not, God’s plan is often to use us to carry out his will. As his followers, we are Christ’s hands and feet on Earth (1 Corinthians 12:27). We’d prefer of course, not to get our hands dirty. In thinking this way though, we imagine ourselves to be better than those around us. In our pride, we’re blind to the fact that we’ve already got plenty of dirt on our hands. We’re sinners who continually require God’s grace and mercy ourselves. We’re no better than those around us and if God wants to use us as his hands and feet, then we should feel privileged to do whatever he asks.