Stranded By Ash. Broken for Revival, Part 3


Volcanic ash from Eyjafjallajokull

Volcanic ash is so tiny that a single piece would be hard to perceive with the naked eye, even if it came floating right past you. Volcanic ash is really volcanic rock that has been exploded through a volcano vent, but each one of these particles is no larger than 2 mm (0.1inch). How could such a tiny, inconspicuous "thing" ever hurt anyone?

They truly do have a bite to them, however (if you ever ate one, it would be far from pleasant!). The best way to describe them is that they are like sharp glass shards (Bon appétit!), damaging anything that they touch. Cars in Iceland, for example, are pitted by these tiny specks.

And these minute particles can even bring down something as big as a passenger jet. No wonder that in April 2010, flights were cancelled all over most of the European countries when one of the largest volcanoes in Iceland, Eyjafjallajokull, exploded. These tiny particles were deadly to both planes and their passengers.

Ferries and taxis were suddenly in high demand, as British citizens stranded on the continent desperately wished to return home. Thanks to the tunnel under the English Channel, extending from Calais in France, to Dover in England, taxis were engaged day and night driving their stranded passengers back home at prices that none of us would even like to imagine.

And all of this because of tiny 2mm particles!

This reminds me of Moses. When he was born he was doomed to die, but miraculously, he was adopted by Pharaoh's daughter (See Ex 2:10). His fate changed from doom to elation as he became part of the elite of Egypt. As he grew older however, he knew that he really belonged to the slave ranks, and one day, thinking himself above the law, he killed an Egyptian that was beating one of his fellow countrymen and discreetly hid him in the sand (These billions of tiny particles would make it impossible for anyone to find the corpse! See Ex 2:12)

I can see him walking with his head up in the air, proud of his accomplishments, however his plans backfired on him the very next day, where his safe little world came crumbling down! The Israelites reproached him and Pharaoh condemned him (See Ex 2:14-15 NIV). His fate was now changed from being part of the elite to being a fugitive wanted for murder.

He fled, taking refuge somewhere in the vast desert, among the billions of sand particles. The same sand that had concealed the murdered body of the Egyptian.

Time flew by, and just when Moses thought he was safe from the blade of his would-be executioners, he heard from God at an unusual manner: a burning bush (God has His ways to attract our attention!). There Moses heard the unthinkable: "So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt." (Ex 3:10 NIV)

Wait a minute! I tried that once. I defended my people and now I'm a fugitive! That's "thanks" for you! And by the way, am I not still wanted for that crime I committed?

However Moses was no longer the "Moses of his youth". No longer did he rely solely on himself to get things done. But he still didn't know God the way we are supposed to be able to know Him, and like anyone of us would do, he began giving excuses. Maybe this was the way to save his head from the executioners!

"Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?" (Ex 3:11 NIV)

"What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, 'The Lord did not appear to you'?" (Ex 4:1 NIV)

"O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue." (Ex 4:10 NIV)

Moses truly was weak. He could not imagine himself being able to do what God was encouraging him to do. It was completely impossible.

But who can argue with God?

Moses took a step in faith, and the rest is history. In fact, his life can be summed up in this one powerful sentence: "He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward." (Heb 11:26 NIV)

He learned this unfathomable principle: "For when I am weak, then I am strong." (2 Cor 12:10 NIV)

So many of us also face the unthinkable: "Me a missionary?" "You would like me to become a prayer warrior? I have no time for this!" "Start a soup kitchen in my neighbourhood? Are you nuts?"

And we, too, have the opportunity to either experience God fully and discover the veracity of 2 Cor 12:10, or to obliviously go along our merrily way. Who do we think would ever remember us hundreds of years from now?

This all started by talking about particles no larger than 2mm. Remember, these tiny particles of ash did the unthinkable: They completely grounded huge flying machines, leaving thousands of people stranded. Remember, giants can be defeated, especially if we are tiny and insignificant, and especially if we take a step in faith!

Are you willing to take that step?

Rob Chaffart

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