Looking Beyond Seeming Failures
Wade E. Taylor

"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28

This does not say that all things are good, but that even terrible things (all things without qualification) can work together to produce "good." This good is not these "things" in themselves, but rather, that the "image" of our Lord Jesus Christ is being wrought into our being, and these "all things" have become a tool to accomplish this.

"Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ." Ephesians 4:13

This "till we all come to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" has to do with our becoming a "spiritual baby " at the time of our salvation, and then growing toward spiritual maturity. On the cross, Jesus said, "It is finished." He lived a perfect life and fully accomplished the will of His father. Thus, Jesus came to full spiritual maturity. We also are to grow into this level of maturity in which our life "measures" up to His life.

To accomplish this, the Lord works within our lives. Our part is to submit ourselves unconditionally to allow Him to do this.

"God has made us what we are, creating us in Jesus Christ for the good deeds which are prepared before hand by God as our sphere of action." Ephesians 2:10 Moffitt translation

The will of the Lord for us then is not "where" we are to be, or "what" we are to do, but rather, that we will come to the place where there is a set of circumstances that will better enable the Lord to accomplish His purpose within us (our being conformed to His image, and yielded for the outworking of His purpose through us).

If we rightly understand this, then it can be said that it is possible for us to be "in" the will of God, while seemingly, being "out" of the will of God. This can only happen if our heart is unconditionally set toward the Lord. Then the Lord is released to use these "all things," whatever they may be, to bring us into spiritual maturity, and also, to bring us into the very center of His will and purpose for us.

This principle can be seen in the life of Moses.

"Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian." Exodus 3:1a

Moses knew that he was called to deliver his people, Israel. In his attempt to fulfill this calling, He failed and fled.

"And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds. And when he was full forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren the children of Israel. And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended him, and avenged him that was oppressed, and smote the Egyptian: For he supposed his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them: but they understood not Then fled Moses at this saying." Acts 7:22-25, 29a

Here, Moses is "ministering" in the wrong place to the wrong people Jethro's sheep. Some of us who find ourselves in a similar situation, feel that although we have missed the best, we are doing the best we can, or we may have given up. However, some of us who presently feel "out " of place, intensely desire "something more" and are pushing forward, seeking a meeting with the Lord.

Moses clearly fits in this second group. He was not feeling sorry for himself, nor was he sitting and doing nothing. The original vision was still alive within him, and he was doing the best he could with all that was available to him.

Moses was called to the "sheep" of Israel, but instead, he was faithfully leading the "sheep " of the priest of Midian, "toward" the mountain of God. This moved the heart of the Lord, who made an arrangement (a burning bush) wherein He could meet with Moses. Thus, all this was "working together" for good. Being "out" of the will of God, Moses was "in" the will of God, as he was being brought to the end of his own ability, which prepared him for his meeting the Lord at a "burning bush."

The Lord revealed Himself to Moses in a flame of fire. Thus the bush burned, but was not consumed. It can be said that it is yet burning, and available to us - if our attitude is as Moses' was, and we become willing to turn aside into the Lord's manifested presence.

It would have been easier for Moses to remain in the wilderness with these sheep than to go back and face his past failure. There was no one in the wilderness to whom he could complain so they would feel sorry for him, nor to criticize what he was doing. Jethro's "sheep" were obviously much more cooperative and appreciative, than the "flock" of Israel had been.

However, the intention of the Lord is always to prepare us, not only for us to succeed where we had failed, but also for us to go " further." Therefore, the Lord told Moses that he was to go back and face Pharaoh, to bring deliverance to the very people from whom he had fled.

Because the Lord did not expect Moses to accomplish this in his own strength, as he had before attempted, he was instructed by the Lord to "take off his shoes." Moses had walked as far as he could go in his own strength and ability. Now, he would walk in the strength (shoes) of the Lord.

This "intervention" did not take place until Moses had come to the full end of his ability, and was willing to turn aside, as an acknowledgement of his need.

"And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burned." Exodus 3:3

According to most modern teaching, the burning bush is seen as being in front of us. They say that all we need is more faith, or some new methodology. Rather, the burning bush was off to the side of Moses' progression toward the mountain of God and required a simple action on his part. He had to "notice" and then "turn" from what he was doing, and submit himself to the Lord.

The fact that this "bush" burned, but was not consumed means that it had been there for a long time, unnoticed by Moses as he pushed toward the mountain of God. Finally, Moses became aware that his ability was not getting him to the goal he desired, and noticed this bush, as it burned. This concept of " turning aside" is very close to the heart of the Lord, who greatly desires that we both notice and respond to His presence.

"My Beloved is like a roe or a young hart: behold, He stands behind our wall, He looks forth at the windows, showing Himself through the lattice."

Song of Solomon 2:9

This ability to perceive, and the discipline to respond to His presence, does not come quickly, or easily. It requires a "coming to the end " of our ways, and spending quality "time" in the presence of the Lord, in order to further develop our sensitivity to the spiritual realm, and to the manifested presence of our Lord.

If need be, the Lord has a "Jethro " and some special "sheep" who will help accomplish this in our lives, if we will acknowledge that we have come to the end of our abilities and ways, and cry out to the Lord that we need "something more, " beyond that which we presently possess.

"Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven." Matthew 5:3

This means that we have become absolutely destitute concerning any ability that we may have and in desperation, have become willing to turn aside. Only then can we partake of the provision of the Kingdom.

"Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted." Matthew 5:4

When we seemingly become stranded in the wilderness, where none of our "giftings" are able to function, we will mourn. We cannot help it, but the Lord understands and will comfort us. This "comfort" will result from the impartation that we receive from the "burning bush" of His presence, by which we receive the enabling grace of His ability, in exchange for the loss of our abilities.

"Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth." Matthew 5:5

Only now can we face and overcome the "Pharaoh's" in our lives - all those things that actively hinder us from fulfilling the call of God.

If we become willing to turn aside and stand in the presence of this "bush" that yet burns, and receive the impartation that is available to us, this world will yet be turned to the Lord.