She was just a normal Hebrew woman. There is no record of her hearing from God in an audible voice. She never became queen or had much power. She just had a family. Pretty average.
But then she became pregnant. And this was potentially a problem. Pharaoh had given strict orders that all boys born to the Hebrews were to be thrown into the Nile river, but every girl could live. So there was a chance that this pregnancy wasn’t a big deal. But on the other hand…
Sure there are cultural difference between then and now, but I have to believe that love is love. She tries to remain neutral because of the ‘what ifs,’ but each day as this child grew in her womb, she grew more and more attached. With each passing day the hopes and dreams she had for this child blossomed.
Then he was born. He. In a moment in which she should’ve been able to allow the joy of the birth of her son dull the physical pain she had just experienced, instead her heart is ripped apart much like her body. How could any mother allow her child to be thrown into the river? So she hides him.
I can’t even begin to imagine what thoughts went through her head as she nursed her new son. How long could she keep him hidden? What if he were discovered? Would she be killed as well? But then she’d look into his eyes and all those dreams would come flooding back into her heart.
This wasn’t going to work for long. Who can really keep a child hidden from the world? The weight of the day when she finally realized this must’ve been crushing. So she takes a basket and, with shaking hands and tear-filled eyes, coats it with tar to make it waterproof. Maybe, just maybe someone will rescue her boy from the river and he will be able to live.
She wades into the river with the basket and the boy clutched against her. Her grip on the basket tightens as the knot in her stomach twists. Surely there was another way. She takes a deep breath and places the basket with the boy in the flowing water. She pauses. Here in this basket is her son. Her hopes and dreams. She feels like a failure as a mother. She had tried, but she wasn’t good enough. As the current begins to pull the basket away, she stoops down not yet ready for the emptiness that her hand and her heart are about to experience. Then, in an instant, the basket separates from her hand. It’s gone.
Have you ever been there? That place when you feel like your dreams are about to be sent up a creek. That empty feeling after the final release. You were convinced that this dream had been from God. But if that was true, why is this happening? You wonder if you had only done better at this, that, or the other thing, then maybe this wouldn’t be happening. But it is.
This is the story of Jochebed, the mother of Moses. We know the rest of the story, but she didn’t. We know that God had a plan for Moses. We know that had Jochebed not released Moses in the river, then the rest of the story doesn’t happen. Pharaoh’s daughter finds the child and Moses’ sister, Miriam, offers to help by finding a Hebrew woman to nurse the child. So Jochebed gets to hold her boy again. The story is almost unbelievable!
Jochebed had to release her own dreams in order for God’s plan to be put into place. This is reality. God’s ways are higher and greater. We’d be crazy to abdicate God’s plan for our own!
On one hand, this is exceptionally comforting to me. But selfishly it does little to dull the ache of feeling like you’re standing in the river clutching the basket. It doesn’t remove the confusion and questioning. The fear of truly letting it go is still there.
Maybe you find yourself on the other side of the story. You know the joy of experiencing God’s plan rather than your own and wouldn’t trade it for the world. And maybe you’re just now pregnant with a dream that has yet to give birth. But maybe you’re currently standing in the river. Trembling and feeling like something inside of you is dying. As I say this out loud while typing, know that I’m saying it to myself right along with you…let go. Trust Him. He has a plan that you and I don’t yet see or understand. Find comfort in His arms.