When it’s time to go on a big hike, I pack a few necessities: water, snacks, and tissues are at the top of my list. Often, when I arrive at the base of the mountain, I will find a walking stick to aid me in those difficult sections where a 3rd leg would be quite useful. If I don’t bring one, there is the potential risk of slipping and falling at steep sections, or when crossing a flowing creek. After all, stability and safety are the name of the game.

Once we hit an old age, the more we need a cane in the everyday of life. Our limbs aren’t strong enough to support us because we are getting weak and shaky, so relying on a cane as a useful tool is important.

How about if we break a leg or sprain an ankle? Then a pair of crutches becomes necessary for us to even get from point A to point B.

These similar items don’t cost much, if at all, but are invaluable for safety and mobility.

“The Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?” He said, “A staff.” And he said, “Throw it on the ground.” So he threw it on the ground, and it became a serpent, and Moses ran from it. But the Lord said to Moses, “Put out your hand and catch it by the tail”—so he put out his hand and caught it, and it became a staff in his hand— “that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.”
Exodus 4:2-5

When Moses was about 80, he walked everywhere with his staff. He used it to help fight off animals that threatened his flocks, and it aided him in wandering the mountainous, rocky terrain as he was certainly up there in years. One day, upon meeting the Lord through a burning bush, God asked Moses to throw his staff, his common walking stick, on the ground. Surely he thought this was an odd request! But he obliged, and the result was miraculous. Was his body immediately healed so that he no longer needed his stick? No. Did it mean his flocks would forever be safe from predators? No. Instead, God turned that staff into a slithering snake. Moses did what any of us would do: he turned and he ran away! But then God asked him to come back and pick the staff-turned-snake up……whaaat? Reluctantly, yet with faith in hand, Moses picked up that snake by the tail, and instantly it returned to his wooden staff. God told Moses this everyday staff was to be his tool, his instrument through which many miracles were about to happen; to bring about the salvation of his people from the Egyptians. And it was so.

There are many lessons to learn from this story of Moses and his staff. Mainly, it displays how God will use whatever we have on or in hand to perform his will, if we are willing to let go of it and let God use it. If we surrender our home, our talent, a home-cooked meal, or even something as simple to us as a pair of crutches, then God just might use it to transform someone else’s life and possibly bring about salvation to someone, or many. In turn, our lives will be blessed as well.

Consider what you have that the Lord could use. Be willing to hand it over, to lay it down at his feet, and then be willing to pick it back up in faith that God will use you through it. We should not fear or run away when trusting God with our stuff, even if it looks like our actions might come back to bite us. HE is faithful; He wants to use you and whatever He has given you. Give God the opportunity to take your proverbial walking stick and perform many miracles for the lives of others.

Food for thought: Additional verses about how God used Moses’ staff, either by him throwing it down, raising it above his head, touching the water, or hitting a rock: Exodus 4:20b, 9-12, 19-22, 8:5-6, 16-17 (Aaron used it too), 9:22-25, 10:12-15, 21-11, 14:16, 21, 26-27, 17:5-6, 9-13.

Fun facts: 1. Golden scepters or staffs were used by Pharaohs and buried with them in their tombs. 2. Canes became a sign of nobility, and soon men had different canes for varied occasions. 3. Bishops even today carry canes to show they are shepherds of people. 4. In the early 1700’s, gentlemen in England were required to obtain a license to carry a cane as it was a privilege to do so! 5. Some people even hid alcohol in their canes during the prohibition. 6. White canes are used by people with impaired eyesight.

Photo by: Kari Wiseman – Hiking at Sequoia National Park