We sat in the hospital prep and recovery room waiting for the anesthesia tech to come for our six week old daughter. I was sitting on the hospital bed holding her, Mike and a church friend stood next to us in the tiny room. Nurses were in and out every few minutes, asking what seemed like the same questions over and over again, and with each piece of time that passed by, the knot in my stomach grew bigger. Fear was swirling around in my mind as I thought about the heart procedure she was about to have. All of this was so new to us, we only knew of a slight heart murmur two weeks before that day. What if there were complications? What if it took hours for her to come out of anesthesia? What if they found bigger problems? What if she didn’t make it?
Our friend asked how we were feeling, talked to us for a few minutes, and prayed for us. Before he left he said something that stuck with me, “I was praying for Ava this morning and I has a vision of Moses’ mother setting Moses in a basket and putting him in the Nile River.”
Minutes later the anesthesiologists came, and I carried our daughter as Mike and I were escorted down the hall to the operating room. There were half a dozen nurses and technicians standing at the doorway wearing scrubs, and a big, bold line was painted on the floor marking where we could not cross. A feeling of helplessness rose up in me as I handed my once peacefully sleeping baby to a stranger in a face mask and she let out a loud cry. “We’ll take good care of her,” they assured us as we were ushered back down the hall and she was taken over the painted line.
The image of Moses’ mother Jochebed releasing Moses into God’s hands has really resonated with me in this new season of having two small children, and of having one with several heart issues. God’s been showing me how to let go of them when my human instinct is to hold on tighter. Exodus says that Jochebed kept Moses from the Egyptians, who were having the baby boys killed to keep the Hebrew population down, until he was three months old and she could no longer hide him. Part of me wants to say “what were you thinking?” when she hides the basket carrying her little baby in the reeds of the Nile River of all places. But I have to think that she also had some kind of radical trust in God’s ability to protect her child and that he would take this awful situation and turn it around for something good. Moses was found and adopted by the Pharoh’s daughter, the very people who were out to kill him. He went on to become Egyptian royalty and as an adult, followed God’s calling to command Pharoh, his adopted grandfather, to free the Hebrew slaves – his own people.
It’s easy to say that our children belong to God when they are healthy. When they are obedient and trustworthy, when they follow His will for their lives and they serve Him faithfully, we are happy to say they are God’s children. But what about when unexpected issues come up? When our plan of having happy, healthy, Christ-following children is suddenly interrupted? In Jochebed’s case, her baby’s life was at risk and maybe her own if she were found hiding him, but she trusted God. Instead of continuing to keep him hidden so that she could have her child, and holding on tighter, she let him go and let God use him instead.
It was scary handing over my child to someone I didn’t know, hoping that they would in fact, “take good care of her,” and I had a good reason – they were humans, and they mess up. But I never have a reason to be afraid when I trust that God has always had everything under control, because he never messes up. Even when things look dire, or when they don’t turn out the way we want them to, when our kids are falling away from what we teach them, or there are unexpected health problems, we still have to stay on this side of the painted line and hand them over to Him.
Read the story of Jochebed’s faith as a mother, here in Exodus 2