Down the River

The story at a mother/toddler playgroup this morning was Moses in the Bullrushes. If you aren’t familiar with it, here is the two second version:

Moses was born in Egypt as an Israelite whose people group were enslaved harshly by Pharaoh and the Egyptians. The Egyptians were concerned by the growing numbers of Israelites and put out a law to kill all the newborn males as population control.

Moses’ mother, put him in a basket and floated him down the Nile river. He was intercepted by Pharaoh’s daughter who bathed in the water. Long story short, his mother was able to raise Moses in the palace alongside Pharaoh’s daughter, and he grew up to be a leader whose privileged background gave him the skills to free his people from slavery.

I’ve read this story a million times, however, today I almost burst out in tears at the thought of placing my infant son in a basket and letting him go because evil people are trying to wipe out future competition.

This really seemed relevant to me today. Why? First, because I needed the reminder that the political and social devastation that plagues our world is not new. Terrorism, genocide, civil war,  racism, violence and humanitarian crises have littered the world for thousands of years.

Generation after generation- the struggle facing Moses’ mother still occurs- forced abortions due to babies being the non-preferred gender, genocide, infanticide and war. People exploiting their power to their own benefit. Watching the evil unfold in the terrorist attacks in London just highlights the on-going destructive nature the Bible sent Jesus to restore and redeem. I see the world’s need for rescuing thousands of years ago with Moses, and I also see it very much today. The Biblical story clarifies why mankind and this world are so broken. It gives me hope for the beauty of the story- that love prevails and death is defeated.

The Bible challenges me to not be overcome by evil, but to overcome evil with good.

It challenges me to use my power and position to help the weak and vulnerable, not exploit  power. It challenges me to love my enemy and pray for those who want to harm me. The Bible, when read the right way, challenges people to serve others- not enslave, exploit, manipulate, and destroy. If we all bought into this mentality, the world would look very different, right from the beginning.

The story was powerful for a second reason today. Like Moses’ mother, I’m placing a lot that I love in a basket and letting it go- relationships, stability, the known, material stuff, sentimental things, roots . . . putting it in a basket and not knowing what is going to happen down the river.

There is so much unknown in 20 days time for our family. The temptation when uncertainty is prevalent is to clutch onto the things you do have and hold tightly with clenched fists. However, at each turn, I feel a spiritual nudge inviting me to place things down and watch them float away.

I don’t know exactly how, but I have peace about moving pretty empty handed. I am putting good things down in a basket because my circumstances dictate it, trusting that our family’s needs will be provided for, and with each box that leaves the door, I’m feeling lighter and a bit freer. I’m asking myself hard questions about luxuries vs. essentials and I am so humbled by how much stuff I have that is in the first category. I am amazed by how many things I was given by friends and strangers, too.

I’m still a work in progress, but there is a principle in Christianity that things don’t actually belong to us. Things are gifts entrusted to us to manage diligently. As I drop off yet another carload of things to the charity shop, I’m experiencing some spiritual transformation that says this stuff wasn’t mine to begin with, which makes it easier to put down and let go of.

As my anniversary china set that I loved went out the door for pennies on the dollar, I took a deep breath, wiped a single tear from my cheek and shook my head, “It’s just stuff.” The process of letting go of the material to embrace adventure (?), the future (?), opportunity (?) is freeing. The (?) is because I’m not sure exactly what comes next. My character is being shaped through this process, and although it is hard at times and often very logistically challenging, I’m liking the woman I becoming down the river.

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