devotional

Papyrus

***Link added!***  If you would like to hear the entire service I refer to in this post, click here and meet my wonderful pastor, Scott Patty.  It’s the one called “Providence” and it’s free!!!!Just click on the mp3 button to download… Your comments and emails have been a source of great strength to me this week, and PRAISE GOD I am doing really well without my meds, and having absolutely no side effects…it is miraculous!!!! Thank you for your encouragement and continued prayers…I’ll be back here soon…I feel a post brewing…:) Have a great day!

I woke up yesterday morning with fear darting through my body like electric current.  I couldn’t move, and my heart was beating so hard I could hardly find my breath.  Gasping, trembling, consuming fear.  I closed my eyes and prayed for the Lord to be near to me, nearer than the terror.  I was paralyzed as I cried out to Him, and as much as I wanted to, I could not put my feet on the floor. After a few minutes, I felt like He told me to stand up and start the day.  I was crying, shaking my head, begging my legs to get me to the shower, where I would try to figure out how to get my clothes and makeup on for church.

For several years, I have taken anti-anxiety medication to help me with moments like these. Last weekend, through a series of events, I felt that the Lord was telling me that it was time to stop taking it (I am not a doctor, and I am by no means trying to give advice on starting/stopping medication, I am just telling my story). I was nervous about the timing, but I was certain He had spoken, and therefore confident that He would be my strength.  This morning felt like more than I could handle, and I began to chase my thoughts through the dark corridors.  
As we sat down for church, I noticed that the name of the sermon was “Providence.”  I felt my body start to settle into the pew as our Pastor opened in prayer.  I love to be in the house of the Lord, where His peace settles upon me in the most profound ways.  I cried my way through worship, each song tugging me closer to the feet of my sweet Lord.  The message was about the birth of Moses.  It is found in Exodus, chapters 1 & 2.  If you have a Bible, you should read the story, and if you don’t have a Bible (and you want one), than you should email me:)
Moses was born to a Hebrew woman during the rule of cruel king who demanded that all Hebrew boys be put to death when they were born.  The midwives who delivered Moses “feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt told them to do…Exodus 1:17”  And so Moses’ mother Jochebed (one of the top contenders for “favorite baby names” this year, I’m pretty sure) kept him with her for about 3 months and then when she could hide him no longer, she put him in a papyrus basket and placed it among the reeds in the Nile river.  
Moses’ sister watched as her brother drifted out farther and farther.  At the same time, Pharoah’s daughter was bathing with her handmaidens in the Nile, and she heard a small cry. She saw the baby in the basket and despite her father’s wishes, she did nothing to harm him. Instead, she sent her handmaiden to fetch the baby, and at that moment, Moses’ sister stepped out from where she had been watching and asked Pharoah’s daughter if she should go find a Hebrew woman to nurse the baby.  Pharoah’s daughter tells her that she will pay the girl if she does, and the girl goes to get her mother (if you are following this little synopsis, you will realize that this is also the mother of baby Moses).  After she has weaned the boy, he is brought back to Pharoah’s daughter,who raises him as her son.  She names him Moses, which means “drawn out of the water.”  That is how this baby boy, the Hebrew who should have been killed at birth, becomes royalty.  My sister in law Nicol told me she once heard someone say, “she put him in the river a slave, and he was brought out of the water a prince.”  His mother believed in listening to the voice of God, and I am sure that as she set the basket in the water, tears streamed down her face as she wondered if she would ever see him again.  Out of her hands, into the water.  This is the face of obedience, and a most powerful image of trust.    
Moses, as many of you know, would one day lead his people out of slavery and through the parted waters.  He would be a beacon of light for God’s people, and a man who lived his life walking alongside the Lord.  He sought the Lord as a friend, and God spoke to him through many trials throughout the years.  The book of Exodus records many of his “wilderness wanderings” with the Israelites, and one of my favorite scriptures comes from Exodus 14:14, where the Israelites are complaining about their journey. Moses says to them, “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still…”
Many, many times during my pregnancy with Audrey, I would recall this verse, and rest in knowing that my God, my strong-tower, my Jesus is in battle for me. I need only to be still. I could talk about Moses all day long, but you will get more from reading it for yourself. Exodus is one of those books in the Bible that people don’t naturally think about reading because it is in the Old Testament and it can seem far-removed from where we are in life now.  Don’t be intimidated…open up and read, and ask the Lord, as Moses did, to “Show me your glory(Exodus 33:18).  He will bless you as you walk alongside Moses, through the desert and right up to the Promised Land.  
One of the great twists in the story of Moses is that God never let him enter the Promised land he worked so hard to get to.  This particular story makes me cry when I read it (although, that’s not necessarily saying much…I cried when I saw “Cars” for the first time.  Yes, the cartoon.). Moses is standing at the edge of the land he has spent most of his life trying to enter, and the Lord says to him, “This is the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob when I said, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ I have let you see it with your eyes, but you will not cross over into it…” Exodus 34:4

This tiny baby, drawn out of the water to be used by our Lord.  He was rescued because God had great things planned for him.  The providence of the Lord allowed the midwives to protect him, ordained that Pharoah’s daughter would be bathing at that exact time, filled his lungs with a cry that would bring her to him, made sure Moses’ sister was near enough to come up with a “plan….” It was beautiful to see them in my minds-eye, as the Lord orchestrated the rescue of Moses.  Beautiful, but painful, because I am not one of those mothers. My mind was screaming these words…
Where were you when my nephew was sleeping in his bed, moments away from his last breath?
Where, oh great providence of God, were you when my daughter’s kidneys began to fail?

I was there, in the river, basket in hand.  Where were you Lord?
I could feel the anger rising up in me as I listened, wondering why the God of the reeds, the God of papyrus, the God of Moses chose something different for my family. My heart was bursting from within me, and the tears were hot on my cheeks.
I wrestled for a good part of the afternoon with my hurt.  Sometimes I think it’s harder to believe the way I do, because I believe with everything in me that He could have changed the story.  This line of thinking inevitably brings me to the question, “Why didn’t He?”  Many people have written with the same question, and I want to tell you that I have thought it through many times, and I have come up with a great theological explanation that I want to share with you.
I have absolutely no idea.
What I do know is this.
The Lord walks beside me as He walked beside Moses, and He knows me by name.  He loves me, and I love Him.  I pushed my baby through the reeds and never saw her again.  And yet, here I am, worshipping the God who allowed it.
I know.  It appears to be an unbalanced courtship.  
I want you to know that as I type these words I am sitting in Starbucks, crying my eyes out, begging God to move my fingers and convey where my heart is resting now.  While I was sitting in church yesterday, I found a page of notes I had taken when I was reading the book “Experiencing the Depths of Jesus Christ” by Madame Guyon a few years ago, and I saw this quote.
“Love, then do what you please…” (St. Augustine)
I am not ashamed to say that I believe the Gospel is true.  I believe that He died for me, that He knows the number of hairs on my head, and that He keeps my tears in a bottle.  I believe there was a real man named Moses, and that the Lord really parted the waters.  I believe in the scarred hands and feet. I believe in the providence of God, even when it feels contrary to what my heart desires.
I have seen the way my Audrey has brought people to the cross.  I have seen the way she has impacted my own life, and the lives of people I may never meet.  It doesn’t mean I don’t want her back, or that I never hurt or doubt.  I do. Every single day.
Scripture says that the Lord Himself buried Moses, and to this day, nobody knows exactly where his body lies.  We do not know what Moses said to God as he breathed his last breath, but we know that he fulfilled his purpose on this earth.  
In his case, it was 120 years.  In Audrey’s, it was less.
I have written more than I meant to, and if you have made it this far, I want to encourage you in your walk today.  He has not abandoned us.  He is the God of the River, the God of broken dreams and crushed spirits, the God of Moses, the God of you.  He is trustworthy, and my prayer for you today is that you will press into Jesus as the words spill like broken perfume through the pain…
Love, then do what you please.
Angie
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