Misery Loves Company

and they believed.  And when they heard that the Lord was concerned about them and had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshiped.”  –Exodus 4:31 (NIV)

I would like you to meet Diane; my former boss.  She is quite a bit older, but I have found that the best friends can be.  This woman, is quite frankly, the most amazing person I have ever beheld.  Her strength, energy, compassion, and Godliness shine forth from every piece of her.  You cannot meet Diane and not love her instantly.  I am quite sure she has never met a stranger in her life, and I strive to be more like her everyday.  I watch a lot of Grey’s Anatomy (so does Diane), and on the show, Meredith, the main character, calls Christina her “person”.  When something goes down, she goes to her person.  This is your partner in crime, not the one that you call when you’ve been arrested, the one that got arrested with you.  Though I can’t ever imagine Diane committing a crime, she’s my person.  We talk everyday on the phone, go shopping, complain about life, and help each other navigate our lives.  She claims me as her adopted child.  When I am down and out, when I have suffered, I call Diane.  Just the act of having someone acknowledge my pain, to know that someone else knows that I am going through something hard, can make whatever the situation seem that much more manageable.  We all need a person, or two, or three.  What is your person like?

This excerpt from Exodus takes place a bit after God has appeared to Moses in the bush.  God has told Moses to go out and tell the

Maybe you didn't have the shirt, perhaps the doll?

Hebrew people that God has sent him to take them to the land of milk and honey, that He has seen their suffering and has given Moses the task of deliverance.  We’ve all heard this story a lot right?  We’ve seen the movie, and maybe even (quite literally) owned the t-shirt?  Well I will say (to my discredit) I’ve never read the story myself.  During this lenten season, I have dedicated some time each day to read the stories I have always heard, and discover them new and fresh for myself.  There is so much good stuff that I could choose to write about or to notice while reading this well known story.  Yet, somehow, as I read the fourth chapter the other night, the last part stuck out to me.  There is a lot in this fourth chapter that’s important, all things I have heard before, about Moses saying not me Lord, please choose someone else, and the elders of the Israelites are brought to Moses they are shown the signs, yay hooray.  Why didn’t I pick some of that awesomeness?  Who knows?  I am just rolling with it.  Maybe it’s because that last bit is the very end of the chapter?  Either way, that’s what this post is about, like it or not.  The thing is, the verses directly preceding the one highlighted above, talk about Moses performing his signs of chosen-ness to the elders, and it is interesting to me that they chose not to worship God until Moses said that the “Lord was concerned about them, and saw their misery.”  I mean they believed Moses with the signs, but upon hearing that their suffering had been seen by the God that they cried out to; that made them worship God.

We are made to be in community with each other and with God.  We all want to feel heard, felt, and seen–both when we are rejoicing and when we are depressed.  Diane is my person, she sees through me.  She knows when I’m up and when I’m down even before I’ve told her what’s going on.  She knows me.  I know that when I hurt, she too feels it.  This is the same with our God.  We are all heard, felt, and seen by God, but I can see how maybe the Israelites didn’t know that they had been heard.  They had been held in slavery for many many moons before the event at the burning bush.  Moses shows up and says, ‘Hey, I’ve been sent to you by God to help you break free!  Yippee!!  Oh and by the way I am “slow of speech” and I am the one God chose to talk the Pharaoh into this whole deal.’  My Bible says they believed him, but it didn’t say anything about rejoicing at the choosing of Moses.  And if their God was so far removed from them, and didn’t see their suffering, how would He know what they needed anyway?  But then Moses says that they have been seen, and then they worship.  We all know the phrase misery loves company and I’m not sure that I’ve ever held that to be true.  I will say that we like to tell others about our troubles–be it a select person or the masses.  We have to be able to share our burdens with someone.  We are simply not built to go it alone in this life.  We need the comfort of being seen.  The comfort of knowing that you are not alone in this fight, that someone has recognized your struggle, and they care about it.  For me that’s why they worshiped God when Moses said what he said.  They felt seen–they felt comfort.  I thank God for the comfort He gives me each day as I stay the course, but I too thank Him for my people like Diane.  If I had to live without either of them I would be truly lost and lonely.

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