My first teaching contract in a special school was running out and I needed a new job. I saw a post in a different sort of special needs and thought I’d apply. It was a primary school for children with EBD – emotional and behavioural difficulties. One of the questions they asked me at the interview was, did I have tenacity? I should have known then! It was one of the toughest jobs I’ve done. I was glad when the year ended and I turned down the offer to extend my contract. But I certainly learned plenty about teaching that year!
God never told Moses that he was going to have an easy time of it, in fact he told him it was going to be really tough (Exodus 4:21-23). His problems were not going to be because he’d got anything wrong, or was out of fellowship with God. In fact, God was enabling him to perform signs and wonders. Yet he was going to have a mighty fight on his hands.
Christians often think that if they are listening to God and doing right, that life should go well for them. If troubles come, they must have done something wrong. Or they hadn’t listened to God properly, or maybe God doesn’t really love them that much… But that’s not how it was for Moses. And Jesus didn’t promise us a rose garden either – “In this world you will have trouble…” (John 16:33).
The battle against Pharaoh was a long and difficult one – but nothing like as long and difficult as Moses’s battles with the Children of Israel! Maybe in allowing it to be such an ordeal, God was honing Moses into a leader capable of taking this infant nation out of bondage and into the promised land. He learned tenacity – to dig in for the long haul and not give up till you see success.
So when we have difficulties, we should not just blame ourselves, or think God has abandoned us. We need to ask God to help us to use every problem as a means to develop us into the sort of people he can use. Overcomers have to have difficulties to overcome. Let me ask you a question. Do you have tenacity?