A Reboot at Age 80

Best is yet

Not long ago, my computer froze up. As I always do in such cases, I called the IT Department in desperation.

“Have you tried rebooting?” they immediately asked.

Doesn’t it seem like that’s always the first solution when your computer—or your life—gets stuck? You have to reboot in order to function properly again.

That got me thinking about my life these days. While many things are going great, in other ways I’m sure I could use a reboot.

But I couldn’t help wondering: Is a reboot even possible at my advanced age?

Fortunately, the Bible answers that question. Some of its great heroes were even older than me when God rebooted their life and gave them greater fulfillment and impact than ever before.

One of these leaders was Moses. He spent the first 40 years of his life growing up in the lap of luxury in Pharaoh’s palace. But after killing an Egyptian one day, he ended up fleeing to the backside of the desert, where he spent the next 40 years herding sheep.

By the time he reached 80, Moses had an uneventful, unexciting life. He was stuck in the wilderness, both literally and metaphorically.

Little did he know that everything was about to change…

In Exodus 3 the Lord suddenly appeared in the midst of a burning bush. This started out as a mere novelty but turned out to be an encounter that would transform Moses’ life forever. His mundane, ordinary existence was rebooted into something extraordinary and world-changing.

Although I’m not 80 yet, I can see it from here. I think I might be ready for my burning bush, and perhaps you are as well.

I encourage you to read Exodus 3 for yourself, but here are a few observations that might spark your own burning-bush experience:

  1. We all need fresh fire from time to time. Moses’ experience ignited new passion and vision in his life. But notice that this reboot was based on a supernatural experience, not just something Moses gained from reading a self-help book.
  2. God wants us to be on-fire for Him, yet without burning up. Moses was startled that the bush seemed to have an inexhaustible energy source (vs. 2-3). We live in the most burnt-out generation in history, desperately needing the empowerment of the Holy Spirit to fill our lives with new energy as we learn to abide in Christ (John 15:1-5).
  3. God knows our name and where to find us. After 40 years, it’s likely that most of Moses’ friends and family back in Egypt had lost track of him. But the Lord knew exactly where he was and what he was doing. In fact, his 40 years of taking care of sheep was Moses’ God-ordained training ground to prepare him for a much bigger task ahead.
  4. When God calls, we must make ourselves available. After hearing the Lord call out from within the bush, “Moses, Moses!,” the immediate reply was, “Here I am” (v. 4). We’re never going to experience much of a reboot unless we’re ready to listen to God’s call and be available for the new mission He has for us.
  5. If our new assignment is truly from God, it will almost surely be overwhelming.  The Lord told Moses he was being sent to bring the Israelites out of Egypt, where they had been in slavery for more than 400 years. What a daunting, seemingly impossible, task! Moses asked, just as we surely would, “Who am I…?” (v. 11). It took some convincing, but eventually Moses recognized that God was capable of giving him success in this incredible new venture.
  6. No reboot is complete without a new revelation of the nature of God.  We will never complete our mission unless we’ve had a genuine encounter with the living God. The Lord told Moses He was “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” (v. 6). But that fact wasn’t good enough for Moses, nor will it be for us. Why? Because a reboot can’t be based on secondhand faith or a spiritual legacy from our ancestors. Instead, the Lord revealed Himself as the present-tense God, with a most unusual name: “I AM WHO I AM” (v. 14).

If you find yourself in need of a reboot today, it must start with a vital question: Do you have a present-tense relationship with God, or just memories of past experiences?  If you’re going to BE who He has called you to be, you must know He’s with you now as your great “I AM.”

Even if find yourself stuck today, hanging out in the wilderness for months or years, God is the one who can give you…

  • Fresh fire—supernatural enablement that will keep you from burning out.
  • A new and exciting mission—but one you can only accomplish with His help.

Someday you’ll look back, as Moses eventually could do, and you’ll realize that God had a sovereign purpose in every experience He’s brought you through. Every step of the way, He was preparing and equipping you for such a time as this.

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