The Lord said to Moses, “What is that in your hand?” He said, “A staff.”

Exodus 4:2


When God called Moses to lead the people of Israel out of bondage in Egypt, Moses struggled with doubt. He responded to God with question after question, trying to wrap his mind around what God was asking him to do. The conversation went something like this:

God:                I have seen the affliction of my people and I am sending you to Pharaoh.

Moses:            Who, me?

God:                Yes, you. And I’m going with you.

Moses:            If I tell them “the God of your Father’s sent me,” they’ll want to know your name.

God:                Tell them my name is, “I AM,” and I promise to bring them out of Egypt. And when the king of Egypt refuses to let them go, I will compel him by my mighty hand and my people will even plunder the Egyptians on their way out the door.

Moses:            Surely the people of Israel won’t believe you told me all of that.

God:                What’s in your hand?

Moses:            A staff…

God:                Throw it on the ground.

(Moses threw the staff down, it turned into a snake and Moses ran!)

God:                Moses, reach down there and grab that snake by the tail.

(Moses took a deep breath, then he picked up the snake as commanded.)

God:                Now, the snake you’re holding will be proof that all I’ve said is true…


So went the exchange. It would have been interesting to watch that scene unfold. And just to be clear, Moses’ role was unique. God probably isn’t calling you to liberate his people from bondage to a foreign power. But God does call you to do uncomfortable and difficult things; things that are downright hard to believe at times. Love your enemies? Forgive as many times as your spouse sins against you? Deny yourself when the addiction is screaming to be satisfied? Patiently listen before speaking? Give sacrificially when money is tight? The list is endless.

Every time God asks you to do something, he will provide the means for you to obey. Dealing with tension in a relationship and need to resolve a problem? What’s in your hand? Struggling with a wayward child and feel powerless to bring about change? What’s in your hand? Excited about a new opportunity but feel as though you lack the resources needed to move forward? What’s in your hand?

In the face of challenges or even exciting possibilities, sometimes we need to look down and reflect on what God has already put in our hands. If you feel helpless or stuck at the moment, I challenge you to look at what’s in your hand. Overcoming a deficit mindset begins with prayerful reflection. Consider what God has given you spiritually, materially, and relationally.