Even a rich spiritual history can be hard to cling to after 400 years of slavery.
Standing here on the bank of the great river has always been one of my favorite places to stand. It is so easy to get lost as the minutes pass by as quickly as the current rushes.
Sometimes I like to pretend I am a branch which has gotten swept away, moving away from this wretched land.
The river is beautiful. Or at least I usually think so when I can see it.
I cannot see it now though. The sun is going down, but my lack of visibility has nothing to do with the waning sunlight. Even late at night, the moon typically illuminates the entire bank with its pure, white light.
No, tonight I cannot see it because the tears have not stopped pouring from my eyes.
My son, Moses, is alive.
Not long ago, Pharaoh made a law that all of the Israelite baby boys in Egypt were to be killed. My wife and I immediately rushed into action.
I am not going to lie, if at that moment we were not expecting a baby of our own I would not have given the executive order any thought. I am busy enough tending to the needs of my family at night and being beaten, on the verge of death as I slave away to build for the Egyptians and their gods.
My initial reaction was fear. I saw no way of escape. The Egyptians had eyes and ears everywhere. However, my wife quickly crafted a plan. She’s a strong woman who never seemed to waver in her faith. She believed our God would save little Moses.
I was less certain.
We’ve been in slavery for four hundred years. Generation after generation has literally been beaten to death. We work all day, with little sleep and food just to work all over again.
On a daily basis, I have heard individuals call out for help from this unseen force as the Egyptian guards gather around to make sport of them. They call out to God to save them as old wounds are ripped open on their backs and new ones are torn into my heart.
Prayers for healing, safety, and freedom come flowing from their mouths as swiftly as the mighty river rolls.
Yet, rarely do any of those criteria get met.
People die. Every day I hear of another death. I am surprised our people is growing and not shrinking with how much death is in the air. Our small city stinks with the death which surrounds us.
When my wife announced to me that she was pregnant again, my first response was not one of joy. I was angry. Why would this unseen force allow yet another child to be born into such an evil and vile existence? It didn’t seem right.
I did not want to have to raise another child to fear the Egyptians. I did not want to have to lie to another child that one-day things would get better. I could barely keep up the charade with Aaron and Miriam. I’m sure they are beginning to see through my doubt.
Luckily they are still more like their mother.
Moses was born and we had to immediately hide him. There was no rejoicing with our family and friends. We knew his death was imminent. We hid him for as long as we could, but after three months we knew we could not keep up at this pace.
It is not easy keeping a newborn quiet. It’s not like he understands the urgency of keeping quiet.
My wife was the one to suggest we put him in a basket on the river.
I thought it was because she would rather him die far away from us that to have him ripped from her arms, and to know for certain his demise was at hand. That’s how I viewed it.
She smiled though, and placed her hand on my cheek, just as she had on our first date together. I remember that moment because in it she told me she knew then we would have the most amazing marriage.
A woman of faith.
Light of my life
She’s the only light I have in my life.
We made preparations and took the boy to my spot. I even tried arguing with my wife that surely there could be another spot along the river which would work to send our boy to his death. Even as she worked to save his life I was stuck thinking about me.
After all, I would be the one who would have to go on living with this decision. But my wife insisted and I gave in to her determination.
She set the basket in and we both wept as we said our goodbyes and gently nudged the boy away from the shore. It drifted on out of sight and my wife turned towards me and buried her face in my chest as we continued to weep. I’m not sure how long we stood there but there were cries from in town and we rushed back to see what was happening.
Little did we know that Miriam had continued to follow the basket, saw that the Egyptian princess had discovered it and drew him up out of the water. Miriam, being like her mother, addressed the princess and asked if she wanted someone to look after the boy.
Now, our son is safe in our home again. We are free to teach him our ways and care for him in the open.
Life really is like a raging river. So many factors contribute to the way it flows and it cannot always be predicted.
For now, our son is safe, and I could not have foreseen that outcome.
Perhaps there is a greater plan for our people.
Maybe, just maybe, there is a God looking out for us.
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