How to Grow in Times of Trouble

September 8, 2022
By: Michael Kelley

When you combine Exodus 2, Hebrews 11, and Acts 7, you get some more facts about one of the pivotal figures in biblical history–Moses. What you find is that Moses was raised in privilege as a prince of Egypt, but that he also had some knowledge about who his people were. He understood he was a Hebrew. And it’s reasonable to assume that he also had at least an inkling about what God’s plan was for him–that he was to be a great deliverer. 

So, in Exodus 2, you find Moses taking his destiny into his own hands. He was supposed to be the deliverer, so he decided to start delivering, and he killed an Egyptian slave-master. That act forced Moses into the wilderness, the desert of Midian to be more precise, and there he stayed for 40 years. 

40 years. 

That’s a long time. In our own context, 40 years ago humanity had little concept of the personal computer, much less the Internet. The first cases of AIDS had just been reported. There was still a wall dividing Germany, and the world was wondering just how Luke Skywalker would deal with the revelation that Darth Vader was his father. 

How Moses Changed

Moses was a shepherd, in the desert, for 40 years. He went from being the prince of Egypt and a revolutionary with a dream to a nobody. But here’s what encourages me about that. During those 40 years, I’m sure Moses had a lot of questions. He had a lot of doubts. He had a lot of humility thrust upon him. And while he may have felt like he was doing nothing with his life, God was busy. And I believe God was busy in at least two ways–one on the outside, and one on the inside. 

God Was Still At Work

On the outside, God was busy preparing Moses to know what life was like in the desert, which would come in handy when he spent the NEXT 40 years of life wandering around there. The stuff he learned about finding water, sleeping arrangements, wildlife, plant life–you name it–would be invaluable. Moses had no clue he was learning all this, but he was. 

On the inside, God was also busy. He was busy helping Moses become the sort of person who could walk into the court of the most powerful man in the known world and say, “Let my people go.” He was preparing him to be the kind of person who could deal with the impatience and bellyaching of a newly liberated people. He was preparing him to be someone who knew what it was like to depend on the work of God and walk deeply with Him. And Moses didn’t even know it. He thought he was just herding sheep, but he was becoming someone in the desert.  

God is Busy

The same thing is often true for us. We walk in and out of circumstances, make decisions and deal with the decisions of others, and learn how to live in plenty and in want. Amid it all, we don’t fully understand exactly what is happening to us, much less what we are learning and who we are becoming. And yet we are. We are because God is not a “waster” of circumstances. In fact, some of the driest experiences of our lives–our own years in the desert–are also the most shaping. 

God is busy. He’s busy in the palace, and He’s busy in the desert. Perhaps there’s a lesson here for us. Namely, that in our desert moments, we should pause for a moment and consider that perhaps there is yet still value in the desert. Though it might look like we are going nowhere and doing nothing, God is still busy in and through us and in and through the world. Perhaps with a little reflection, then, we might strive less to escape the desert and instead focus our eyes on the God who never stops His work.  

Michael Kelley

Michael Kelley is a husband, father of three, author, and speaker from Nashville, TN. His latest book is a year-long family devotional guide called The Whole Story for the Whole Family. Find his personal blog at 


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4 replies on “How to Grow in Times of Trouble”

Deuteronomy 8 brought me to tears about a decade ago, ‘to test you, to see how I might use you (for My glory)’. God began to teach me through the life of Moses, The first thing He showed me was how He first added Moses fear of (in God’s view) insignificant fears, snakes. Moses did not FLEE from the burning bush when it spoke, he did however flee from the snake. We can learn from this account, that trust in the, more than capable, mighty God, can diminish our lesser , through God’s eyes, irrational fears.
‘Here I am Lord, pick me’. A report for duty attitude before the Lord. But take head, later in Isaiah the Lord replys to him, “Here I am”. (Indicating Isaiahs calling brought him to a time of harsh circumstances that rendered him reliant solely on God. [Good/bad)

Right now my life is a wreck and i think I’m starting to forgot how to trust in God. My dad has Lung Cancer and we rent a house near the cancer hospital far from our home so that we can take care of him. But we hardly can afford all the expenses and now we are in deep financial struggle. I prayed and still don’t got the answer. I’m starting to lose hope too. Please pray for me
,for my dad and my family.

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