I want to tell you about a valuable tool you can use when something feels “off.” Perhaps you’re in pain, you’re suffering, there’s something you’ve been praying about for years… whatever the case, it’s the most valuable tool I’ve ever learned when I feel stuck. And it’s pretty simple. It involves picking up a stick, throwing it down, and picking it up again.
Sound a little too simple?
It’s not always easy, but it is simple, and it worked for Moses (which I’ll talk about later). It works for me, too, time and time again. Let me give you an example.
Years ago, I completely burned out. I was incredibly busy with ministry and constantly in pain. You could say I was carrying both my ministry and pain on my shoulders. I spent more time leaning forward than leaning back and looking up, and it landed me in a treatment center. I had become addicted to the opiates and medications the doctors prescribed me for my pain. I’ll never forget that first 12 days of rehab, when I thought I would die. And then the next 12 days, I was afraid that I wouldn’t die.
The doctors told me that few people ever get off the pain medication and that I wouldn’t be able to travel due to the pain. Fear quickly told me that this diagnosis was my fate. But I had to deal with that fear and throw it before the feet of Jesus. And He wasted no time in telling me that I was still qualified and deeply loved.
I read a story in Exodus that helped me understand what needed to be done…
Your Pain Costs the Enemy
Shortly after Pharaoh issued a death sentence on an entire generation, Moses was spared from death. When Satan goes after the unborn and newborns, there’s a critical destiny that generation is carrying. There’s something amazing God is up to! In this case, there was a deliverer coming. Someone who would help deliver 2 million people from their prison in Egypt.
It’s no coincidence that Satan went after my health when I have a healing ministry. But Jesus is my deliverer, and my smile is genuine. I’ve learned to recognize what I’m carrying and when to lay it down, when to lean, worship, and cross my hands, even when I still feel the pain.
I love that Moses’ mother finds out about the plot and pushed him right into the hands of the king’s daughter, who saves him. Now the devil’s plan is backfiring, since he’s paying for the diaper bills! Moses is inside the home of the devil himself, being trained in the world system. God had a plan that couldn’t be stopped.
You can be certain of this: every time the enemy attacks you, it costs him something. When terrorists burned down 100 churches in the Middle East, 80,000 people got saved. If you find a tumor, we’re going to see 1,000 people healed from cancer. It’s a different way of thinking for Kingdom people. It’s also a necessary way of thinking, so we don’t get trapped in a negative mindset—focusing on what God isn’t doing rather than what He IS doing.
Step 1: Lay It Down
Back to Moses… For the first 40 years of his life, he gets the best training money could afford. But then on the first day of ministry, he kills someone. Whoops. On the second day, fear drives him into the wilderness. And for the next 40 years, his royalty is stripped away from him and he becomes a shepherd. His shepherd’s rod becomes his identity and value system—even his new retirement plan.
But God isn’t worried about this. He’s thinking, Great, Moses doesn’t know what to do anymore. Now we can begin! And God doesn’t bring up the past or shame him over how bad of a sinner he was. Rather, He gives Moses a burning bush experience where he fully encounters the love of his Father. He became a different person after encountering the Lord. But his identity needed to change, too. When Moses received God’s instruction, fear quickly took root again. “How am I gonna change the nation? I can’t even speak!”
God’s response was simply, “I AM.” It started to click… For every problem—a need for more finances, peace, restoration, and so on—the answer is I AM. He is your healer, provider, strength… He IS. No matter what, you will find that He is always the opposite of your problem, and it becomes your promise.
Now Moses has a tool to combat the trials of life. He tells God about his problem and says, “What am I going to do?”
God responds, “What do you have in your hand?”
Moses thinks a moment… “Well, this rod. A shepherd’s rod. It’s my identity, my provision…”
“Throw it down.”
God gave Moses the rod; his calling and giftings. But all of Moses’ comfort was in his rod, not in God anymore. He could only go so far in his own power. When he threw it down, it became a snake. Sometimes we don’t realize there’s anything poisonous in the things God has given us until we consecrate it and lay it down. Then you’ll find if there’s any serpentine nature in it.
What’s your rod? For me, ministry had become my serpent. Even if you’ve spent 40 years building a ministry or business, it becomes poisonous when it’s no longer supernatural—when it becomes our identity. At that point, we need to lay it down.
Grab the Snake by the Tail
God tells Moses to pick up the snake by the tail. I wonder what Moses was thinking at that moment… but he obeyed, and it became a rod again. It was no longer Moses, the man with a rod. It’s God with a man with a rod. It’s God’s rod, his sufficiency, and his abundance.
When we get God’s rod, how will that change things?
When Pharaoh sent his whole army to kill the Israelites, Moses was in quite a pickle when he reached the Red Sea—a dead end. Even if your first response is fear, sitting in Chair #2… just repent and get back in Chair #1. Don’t worry about it! Recognize what you have in your hand. You have the fullness of the Godhead dwelling in you. You have His ability, wisdom, strength, authority, anointing, presence… Now you’ll be saying, “Oh, I guess I don’t have a problem after all. But God… You have a problem.” Let His ability defeat your giant.
You may say, “I know I have you, God, but it’s been a long journey! It’s been hard for so long.” If you’re saying this today, find someone to come and help you hold your rod. For Moses, God brought Aaron. When we can hold Him up high, the environment will change. It won’t change us.
I have a rod in my office, and symbolically, I lay it down when I need to. Even blessings can distract me from the Blesser. Do you have a business that you want to make God’s business? Financial pressure? A child struggling with homosexuality? A spouse that’s addicted?
Look at the rod on the ground; it’s His. Pick it up. Feel it, hold it, lift it up. Now feel His rest. He’s saying, Trust me, and I’ll show you. I’m making your problem a promise. And I’m a promise keeper.