When You Just Can't Win, Surrender All
Sometimes in life, we face circumstances that make it seem like we just can't win. The enemy is closing in, everywhere we turn, we face opposition, and from a human point of view, there is no hope. Often though, we just don't realize that our deliverance is at hand.
It is darkest just before dawn.
Often in those dark times, what we are seeing is just the darkness before the dawn of hope. To see that dawn though, God often often requires us to give up control. To surrender everything to Him, and give it up as lost. That is the situation that was faced by a couple in Egypt in our Bible passage today.
Now a man of the tribe of Levi married a Levite woman, and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. 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. His sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him. Exodus 2:1-4This Hebrew couple were in a situation where there appeared to be no hope, no way out. They had a brand new baby boy, something that should have brought such joy, but they were haunted and overshadowed by the knowledge that as soon as anyone learned of his birth, their baby would die. Pharaoh had declared that all of the Hebrew baby boys would be killed at birth, and if they managed to be born in secret, they were to be tossed into the Nile to drown as soon as they were discovered. This couple managed to have their baby, and to keep him hidden until he was three months old, but it was becoming impossible to continue hiding him. Babies make noise, soon he would be crawling and moving about, there was just no way to continue hiding him.
This young mother, I'm sure looked down on her boy and felt her heart break. Like any mother, she loved him with her whole heart, and wanted to hold him and keep him close. She would have died to save him, but that wouldn't have done any good, because if she had died in his defense, he would just have been killed anyway. In her own strength, she simply could not save this little life, it was impossible. I imagine that every time she walked near the Nile, she would look at the water and shudder at the thought of her baby thrown into the water, sinking, unable to breathe.
I'm not sure what made her think of what she did next, but it involved complete surrender of her child's life. She went to the very river that was ordered to be his watery grave, laid him in a little basket that she had sealed to keep the water out, and hid him in the reeds. Imagine how hard it was for her to leave him there. What if the basket tipped over? What if one of the crocodiles got him? What if someone heard his cries and threw him in? I'm sure as she walked away, she felt that he was dead. She couldn't bring herself to toss him into the river as ordered, but what she did really offered him little more hope than that would have. When she placed him in that river, she was essentially giving him up to God, the only one who could save him. She placed him in his grave. Surrendering all control over what happened to him.
His older sister may not have been so ready to let go, because she stayed nearby, to see what would happen to her little brother.
From the Watery Grave, Came New Life
Then Pharaoh’s daughter went down to the Nile to bathe, and her attendants were walking along the riverbank. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her female slave to get it. She opened it and saw the baby. He was crying, and she felt sorry for him. “This is one of the Hebrew babies,” she said.
Then his sister asked Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?”
“Yes, go,” she answered. So the girl went and got the baby’s mother. Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this baby and nurse him for me, and I will pay you.” So the woman took the baby and nursed him. When the child grew older, she took him to Pharaoh’s daughter and he became her son. She named him Moses, saying, “I drew him out of the water.”
Imagine the fear that his sister felt when she saw Pharaoh's daughter discover the baby. After all, this was the daughter of the person who wanted to murder every Hebrew baby. It would have been considered right and expected of her to order her attendants to follow her father's orders and drown this child. But then, in the face of certain death in a watery grave, deliverance happened.
The Pharaoh's daughter felt pity on this helpless baby. She didn't want to kill him, its not really surprising, because who could hold a baby and want to hurt him?
The baby's sister then went and got her own mother to serve as a nurse-maid for this child.
Imagine the absolute joy and relief that filled this mother's heart when she learned that her child would now be under the protection of the very family that previously sought to kill him, the most powerful family in all of Egypt. The most powerful family in the known world at the time. Imagine her elation when she also learned, that not only would her child's life be saved, but she was now going to be the one to continue caring for him, only now without fear.
She had to surrender all hope, she had to give up her child to God, but God, in His goodness and kindness, returned her child to her arms.
Not only did God deliver her child, but He did so as part of a plan to deliver the entire nation of Israel.
And it was all made possible because a mother surrendered to God.
When we come to the end of ourselves, and there is just no way we can win. It is then that we are ready to surrender to God. Once we do that, we get out of His way so He can bring His perfect will to pass, and we know that His will works all to the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. Sometimes, letting go is the best way to hold on.