After nine months of nurturing this precious creation, he is here. Care of the infant demands all your time. You sleep when he does, are pretty much on your toes constantly, feeding him when he is hungry, ensuring his safety, and that he is healthy and comfortable. The baby is dependent on you and his father for his survival. Your feelings are a mix of fierce love, protectiveness, and wonder at the life that God has brought from the love of your husband and yourself.
Now, let’s throw a monkey-wrench in the mix. You live in a poor and primitive country. There are no Jenny-Lind cribs, diaper-genies, or the local Babies-R-Us to create the perfect nursery theme. You didn’t have a baby shower where your wish list was made possible by your friends and family. You are, instead, a unwanted slave in a land hostile to you. Your son’s life is considered forfeit from the moment he is born.
Righteous midwives help keep your son alive. However, you know the directive of the country’s ruler. All male children are to be killed at birth. If you want him to live, you must hide him. And practically, hiding a newborn is pretty much impossible. You try. But then, the day comes when you can no longer keep him concealed. What do you do?
Moses’s mother prepares a papyrus basket for her son. She plans to set him adrift on the Nile, hoping someone will see and take pity on her child. These days, research describes the seemingly placid Nile as teeming with
“Venomous snakes, aggressive hippopotami, six metre long crocodiles, lethal scorpions and bands of unfriendly locals”(1). At that time, the danger was likely greater.
The act of Moses mother has to be one of true desperation…..or, perhaps faith?
Moses’ sister, Miriam, stands at a distance to see what will happen. She is a realist. Like her mother, she sees no other viable option. At home, the child’s mother waits for provision that can only come from the God of Abraham.
The Egyptian Pharaoh has a daughter who apparently is old enough to have maternal longings. Just as the child floats down the river, the Egyptian princess is coming to the Nile to bathe. She happens to see the baby’s basket, which is lodged in the reeds. She sends one of her slaves to get the basket. She then sees that it is a baby. And that he is crying.
And, she feels compassion.
In this remarkable chain of events, let us add another. She recognizes that the child is a Hebrew baby. Her father has ordered the murder of all Hebrew boys at birth. Yet, the young princess’ heart is not prejudiced. It is instead moved to pity. At this point, the princess could have walked away and left the child to the elements, and not have been thought of badly, even by her own father. Yet, she does not.
Moses is brought out of the water by the slave girl, who ‘just happens’ to be Miriam, the sister who watched him be placed adrift in the water. Miriam suggests that the child be taken to a wet nurse. The Pharaoh’s daughter agrees and consents for a wet-nurse to be brought. And who better than his own mother?
The mother and child have been separated for about a half hour.
The princess pays Moses’ mother to do the job that was already hers. Moses returns to his home, and is kept there, safe, until he is weaned. The Pharaoh’s daughter adopts Moses and makes him a prince.
From here, many events work together to make this abandoned then redeemed child the leader and liberator of the house of Israel. However, we tend to forget the tremendous faith that God used to make such liberation possible.
Hopefully, no one reading this note has ever been in quite as desperate a situation as the mother of Moses. However, some of us have. Some of us have felt every bit as hopeless and helpless. Instead of getting better, we have found that our situation only worsened. So, resources gone, we turn in desperation to what remains. Faith in God.
If you, today, are in a hopeless or desperate situation, I encourage you to look to God for your provision. I will not suggest that he will answer immediately or provide the ‘quick fix’ that some, demanding ‘proof’ of God demand, and then scoff at when he doesn’t follow through. The father of the universe is not a gum-machine, dispensing miracles at the insertion of a demanding or even desperate prayer. However, in his timing, and with often amazing results, he always provides a way for the believer that fits better than anything they could have planned on their own.
Consider again the seemingly random events in the story of Moses. How all the players end up in their needed places at just the right time. The way the hearts of all involved are willing to work together for the good of baby Moses. Hard to believe? This story is only one of many, in and out of the Bible that prove God can work miracles. He regularly makes a way out of helplessness and despair.
It is God’s delight to weave life into the impossible strands of our tangled lives. It is his joy to bring happiness where there was once tears. However, we must be willing to give up attempts at controlling our lives. When we give up trying in our own strength, that is when we encounter God in his infinite power and might. That is where we find hope and redemption when all seems impossible.
If you will, please pray with me: “Lord Father, I give you the impossible situation in my life. I have tried everything I know in my own strength. I give up trying. I leave it to you to work things out. I trust you for the outcome, no matter how long it takes. Send your comfort and wisdom as you work things out for my ultimate good. Give me the wisdom to see that good and to give up more and more of myself for your work in my life. I pray this in your son’s name, Amen.
No matter your situation, I encourage you to never give up on God. You may have your own basket full of things precious to you, ready to put in the Nile of your life, because there is no solution left. I encourage you to give your situation to the God who loves you, who will provide for you, and who will make a way when there is no other way.
1.Web site “Colors of the Nile.” http://www.niletrip.com/dangers.htm“l
2.all biblical references are from the Celebrate Recovery Bible, NIV version.