It’s a new year. People are inspired to make resolutions, set goals, or choose a word to define their upcoming year. I don’t feel that settled to be able to do that. I’m not good at goal setting or resolutions and I don’t even remember if I chose a word for last year.
There was a Facebook app I clicked on a few weeks ago that promised to give me a word to define my upcoming year, based on my typing my name. Very scientific. It told me my word was “Future.” Now, I’m sure there are a lot of other people who randomly got a word assigned to them, but I really liked this random choice. It fits well, since at the moment, my future is more uncertain than I’d like it to be.
It always, is, of course. None of us can predict the future, and life circumstances and events can quickly change the plans we make whether we are ready for it or not.
As I was journaling today in my new journaling planner I created for myself for this year, I started thinking about Exodus (as that is the suggested reading I have for today). When we read about it, we often think of it in terms of how great God is for rescuing Israel from slavery and when they are free and want to return, we can’t quite understand why.
We should understand though. Even though their circumstances were that of slavery and oppression, they were comfortable because life was always the same. After God delivered them, life, though free, became very, very uncertain.
I’m getting ahead of myself though, as none of that is actually what is covered in today’s scriptures.
In Exodus 1:1-6:1, we have Moses, whose life was saved from being murdered, who was raised in Pharoah’s household, who fled after killing an Egyptian, who God met in a burning bush. We have the midwives, who defied Pharoah and let the boys live. We have Moses’ mother (Yocheved), who hid him for three months and then put him in a basket on the Nile to save him. We have Moses’ sister (Miriam) who waited to see what would happen. We have Pharaoh’s daughter who found him. We have Moses’ wife, Zipporah, who insisted on circumcising their son. we have Jethro and Aaron and Pharoah and all the Israelites.
What we have are a variety of individuals, each with their own lives, hopes, dreams, and stories, all living an interconnected life, taking action despite not knowing what would happen. The midwives risked Pharoah’s wrath in order to let the boys live, as God was more important to them than Pharoah. Yocheved risked keeping Moses alive. Fear was most certainly a part of what they were feeling, despite that they likely also trusted they were doing the right thing.
I think we either forget about that or miss it–we talk about not having fear, about perfect love driving out fear, of not really trusting God if we are afraid. But fear is also a part of life, too, and I wonder if the trust and obedience of these people would be as amazing if fear and risk didn’t play a part in what they did. I don’t think it would. They feared and they trusted despite not knowing the details of their future, despite only having promises they didn’t necessarily know how they would turn out.
And so, as I think about and read Exodus over the next few weeks, I want to realize that looking back on it from my own perspective takes away from the story. I may know their future, but they do not. And that’s something I can relate to. Can’t we all?