Like Moses, I Fled to Midian
Moses Flees to Midian is the fourth piece of the 14-piece Call of Moses series. The bucket for a well refers to the scene in Exodus 2:15-22 in which Moses stands up for the women at the well. It's a very pivotal moment in Moses's life—because of where he had just run from and also because of the new direction his life would then take.
Moses had been living a life of royalty among the Egyptians, but when he learned that he was actually born a Hebrew, he began to question his entire identity and purpose. The Hebrew people were enslaved by the Egyptians at the time, so out of his curiosity, Moses went out to see how they were being treated. Unhappy with what he discovered, Moses had a decision to make—wisely use his position/reputation/platform to free those he now knew were "his people" or lash out in reaction to what he was seeing in that moment. Unfortunately, one thing led to another and Moses found himself standing over a dead Egyptian—a murder committed by his very own hands. With another split-second, reactionary decision, Moses ran. He fled to the town of Midian, leaving behind the comfort of the palace, his reputation of royalty, everything that was familiar to him, any consequences he should have received for his crime, and also the enslaved Hebrew people—his people.
One of the amazing parts about this story is that God still blessed Moses's life. He allowed him to cross paths with a woman that later became his wife, the fellowship of good people, and a place in a community. He made a whole new life for himself! I can't help but wonder though, what was running through the back of his mind? He must have had nagging thoughts constantly reminding him of what he did, who he used to be, where he came from, the people he didn't save, the feelings of guilt, shame and pain, and so on.
Maybe it's easy for me to assume he had those nagging thoughts because I can relate. I had a "Midian" in my life that I once fled to after a life-altering event and some poor decisions.
My mom—the glue of our family who was loved by everyone she knew—was diagnosed with colon cancer when I was in seventh grade. During my eighth grade year, she passed away and it rocked me and my family. Like Moses, I found myself suddenly questioning my identity, my purpose and even God himself. I made some regretful decisions to avoid and escape the whole situation by any means possible. I fled, basically. I surrounded myself with bad influences, partied hard, said destructive things, bullied people, nearly decided to end my life a couple of times, and did many other things I'm not proud of.
Unable to confront the reality of the situation, I kept running. Later in college, in a totally different environment, God began to bless my life anyway (also like Moses). Despite what I had done, God allowed me to meet some good people who became supportive friends, granted me focus for schoolwork, gave me opportunities that eventually led to a career, and even gave me a girlfriend that I'd later go on to marry. Things were falling into place in this new life of mine, but, in my mind, I still felt inadequate, guilty of things I had done in the past, undeserving of anything good, lacking confidence, and most of all—ragingly angry over my mom's death. The idea of "Midian" was wonderful on the outside, but inside, it still felt like my own personal hell.
The only way I found peace was by confronting my past. I had long conversations with my girlfriend, Amber (who was a Christian), where I shared my feelings and frustrations. She told me she couldn't do anything to help me, but she knew someone who could. She encouraged me to reach out to Jesus in prayer and to figuratively lay my anger, guilt and pain at his feet.
Once I accepted, I began to experience a transformation in my life. Anger was slowly being replaced by joy and I felt a large burden being lifted from my shoulders. During that transformation, Amber took me to the zoo for a date. We stood for a while watching a large tiger pace back and forth in his cage. I distinctly remember hearing a voice inside my head say, "Why are you choosing to be caged? It's time to let go of the things of your past." I was like that tiger, cooped up and caged in by my own self-pity; hopeless. I knew in that moment that Jesus was ready to set me free from those walls if I let him. What Jesus did on the cross for me (and everyone) redeemed any terrible decisions or awful sins I committed in the past. I didn't have to worry about those anymore because he had taken care of them and wanted me to walk in his freedom.
Is there or was there ever a Midian in your life? The good news is, God doesn't leave us hoplessly in Midian. He sure didn't leave me there, and he didn't leave Moses there, either. Check out the rest of the series to see how the Call of Moses continues.