Have you ever had one of those nights when you can’t sleep? There have been times when I have fallen asleep in exhaustion, only to lie awake a few hours later, because the conflicting thoughts are back into my head. 2:18am, 3:18am, 4:18, maybe I should just get up…no! I’m tired! I doze before the morning alarm rings, but wonder, “Did I ever sleep?” I think my body collapsed and my mind stayed vigilant all night.
After moving to a new state, I went to general practitioner for a “meet the doctor” appointment, and I’ll never forget one of the questions he asked: “What do you do to manage stress?”
He didn’t say, “Do you have stress?” nor “Do you feel stress?” he asked how I handled it.
I suppose that must be true of most lives: it’s not IF we have it, it is WHAT WE DO with it when we DO have it.
I don’t handle it.
One of my favorite Biblical illustrations to which I have clung for a decade is that of a mother, found in the second chapter of Exodus. Jochebed, one of the Israelites (who were at the time brutally enslaved by the Egyptians), gave birth to a son. In an attempt to reduce the power of the growing Israelite population, the Pharaoh had ordered ALL male Israelite babies to be killed.
I think of this woman, and think of her 2:18am’s and 3:18’s and 4:18’s. Did she stay up thinking “what if?” all night? During pregnancy, did she wonder if she was carrying a boy? Had she hoped something would change –the law, the slavery, anything? Did she cry? After the birth, knowing it was a boy, did she cling to him as if every breath were his last? Did she have nightmares of the Pharaoh’s soldiers coming? Did she hear phantom horses’ hooves of the chariots? When did she “plan?”
Because she did plan. We are only given a glimpse of it in a couple verses of Exodus 2:2-3: “When she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him for three months. But when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile.”
I don’t know if she was “up all night” thinking, but I do know that she took a basket, made it waterproof and put her precious little bundle inside. Then, she set it in the reeds along the bank of the Nile River, crocodiles and Pharaohs and all. And she Let Go.
I guess the fact is that it wasn’t “her” precious bundle. It was God’s all along.
This story has played in my mind countless times.
When I have faced scary medical news, I have had to do my due-diligence of preparing a basket, choosing the right doctors, the right locations, asking God to guide every step…and then I have had to let go of the basket.
When I have had to watch a person whom I love deeply deal with intense pain, thousands of miles away: I have had to get out my pitch and tar – on my knees in prayer that God would show me my role- and then let go as God guides the basket. Sometimes I have wished I had fishing wire attached, so I could reel it back in and think on it more, or do more, but don’t I trust that God can guide its path perfectly?
As I watch other moms’ hearts ache over their wayward adult children who just seem to go the wrong way, I can only encourage: “You have selected the basket. You have waterproofed. You may not ‘deserve’ the treatment anymore than Jochebed deserved to be an abused slave, or to lose her son, but God does have a plan.”
Of course, you know the rest of the story, right? The place where Jochebed selected to leave the basket was where the Pharaoh’s daughter bathed. When she found the baby, she named him Moses, who grew up as an Egyptian. But as an adult, through God’s providential plan, he freed all of the Israelites from slavery…and I could go on forever about this amazing, providential, history-making story!! The implications! The impact!!
The impact of one woman, who made a basket…and let it go.
So how do I deal with stress? I wish it were as easily done as it is said:
Let go of the basket.
I love the old saying: Don’t worry about tomorrow, God is already there.
He’s got the basket in His hands.
Love ya, girl!