This week my mom & I said goodbye to Moses. We’ve followed behind him all this while, all this way and the clock’s ticked slow to his own little end. At Deuteronomy’s finish, after forty years of hiking head of the Israelite pack, bearing patience and the Spirit and belief in the God that goes with, Moses earns himself one last monologue. This time, the old hero points out all that’s good in God’s people. My mama says, “He gets to say goodbye when they’re faithful.” To shed some light on their good, to call it out from back-corners. To speak a home-stretch drive into weary bones so they can finish their wild race without him.
Moses’ last God-instruction? To peak Mount Nebo—able, steady, ready—because there’s glory’s waiting at the top. Just trust Me. He hikes his way up, quiet and willing. 120 years on him yet not a speck of lost vigor or vision. Once he makes it, God lets him sit wide-eyed at a Promised Land panorama, wide-eyed at all the places his dust will soon cover. My mama says, “How sweet God is to Moses even when he doesn’t get to go in. I love how he got to see the Promised Land from up high on a mountaintop—how beautiful it must have been.” Moses is all done. And well done, good and faithful—he gets a God-sized thank you stretching east to west, he gets to check out the finish line from the best seat in the house. He could see the whole thing! He sure deserves to see it—and he knows it won’t compare to Where he’s headed.
He breathed his last atop Nebo’s splendor, small amongst endless horizons. He dies among only the Lord’s company, buried in glory by the hands of God Himself. He was something special, remembered for staying ever-faithful in leading the most headstrong of people, for staring God’s glory head-on and looking a whole lot like Him, for always looking ahead to his forever-reward. Oh how God loves to send Moses to the mountaintops–where he was first commissioned and commandment-handed and saw God’s glory, and now atop Nebo, he hears his well-done good & faithful as God tucks him into a heaven Rest.
I graduated from my university last May—diploma and stage time and fireworks and all—but the real adventure I love called for one last lap to run. Senior year with my people, my high school friends turned little sisters. I had to finish the ministry I’ve received in the Lord (Colossians 4:17). And now I’m saying hi to the May I’ve begged to pretty-please take her time. But she’s here, and I’m here, at this four-year grand finale. Wrapping up the adventure He always said had numbered days, having stayed four-year faithful to my own set of Israelites.
Still I climb–able, steady, ready. I hike my own Mount Nebo—with a fraction of his followers and his forty years, and I don’t think my story ends here. I’ve finally made it up top, best seat in the house. His voice is loud from up here: Layne, look how they are faithful! Watch as I’ve readied them, as we’ve readied them. They’ll slay giants here, they’ll make it here, they’ll find the milk and honey I’ve long-since promised. They’ll one day be rooted down deep here. I get to spur on and see good in and speak into my friends today—and they’re finally in faithful mode too. I see them keep choosing Jesus, and it makes it a whole lot easier to let go. They’ll enter their own promised lands with packed bags and a whole new world at their fingertips and no parents and no Layne. I hear Him: Just trust Me. From my own Nebo peak, I get to see a little of what He sees—infinite horizons and His big picture view. Look at the all the mountains left to climb! But as for this one, I’m all done. And well done, He names me good and faithful. As for what’s next? He spies my next wild adventure and I trust Him though I can’t quite see it. Time to pack up camp and go find it.
Thanks for fifty-something strangers-turned-sisters, for letting me stay and see through to their finish. I’m singing! I trust You–they were were never mine in the first place. You’ve taught me to lovelovelove change, and crave it. Onward, Papa! What’s next?