By Steve Qualls - Christpoint Church
The best years of my life were spent in the arms of a woman who wasn’t my wife. That place was occupied by the one I call mother. Those arms held me tightly when I crashed a bike, fell from a hay wagon, or shivered when I was cold. I’ve never been a mother and can’t say what it feels like to step into that role. The nature of a mother is profoundly different than that of a father.
As a man and father, one will never know the heartache and anguish spent at the altar in prayer when the young wife of Elkanah “we know as Hannah” sought the presence of God to give her a child. As it’s recorded in the first book of Samuel, she became undignified as she travailed. So much so that the attending priest gave her to be drunk with wine. The nature of a mother to cry out for a child she had never met, “I think,” is beyond the capable level of compassion afforded to a father.
Another such mother gave birth to a child in a very dangerous and tumultuous time. The nature of a mother is not to hand her newborn over to Egyptian authorities for execution. You see, word had spread in the house of Pharaoh that a child would rise up to deliver and free the Israelite people from their slavery. A fearful and weak leader doesn’t possess the nature a mother has, so the Pharaoh ordered all male children to be stripped from the breast of their mothers and thrown into the Nile River. The nature of the society of the day dictated they comply with the laws of the land. Babies were handed over and sacrificed to the Nile, and the nature of the fathers apparently was submission rather than revolt. I don’t read in the book of Exodus where a single father did anything in defense of their children. However, the foundation of the Old Testament recordings of the law hinged solely on the nature of a single mother. A son was born to a husband and wife recorded in Exodus chapter 2. But the nature of a mother was not to give her newborn son to the river to die. So she gave him to the river to live. She built a small ark, or a basket. She waterproofed it to ensure that it would float. She kissed her son for what she considered to be the last time. She gave her three-month-old child, vulnerable and defenseless, to the very waters others had been sacrificed to. She had to say her goodbyes. She was forced to let him go. The nature of a mother was to trust God with her most precious cargo. The waters of the Nile were sacred to the Egyptians. They had sacrificed children from its banks. Whatever they gave to the river was necessary, and whatever the river provided was vital. This young Hebrew mother knew Egyptian culture and gave her son to be drawn from the waters by the very people who decreed the infant death sentences. Moses was drawn out by the Pharaoh’s daughter and raised to be an Egyptian leader.
I wonder if his birth mother viewed him as an apprentice of the enemy and questioned if her sacrifice was worth it? I wonder if, year after year for 40 years, she thought that she had given her son to the devil rather than to God? I wonder after he disappeared for another 40 years if she questioned whether she had made a mistake in those early days at the water’s edge? I think the nature of a mother is not to question her love and loyalty to her children. I believe the true nature of a mother is to trust God for her children even when it doesn’t look promising at the time.
She had to give him to the very thing that could kill him. She floated him safely on top of what buried others. No rudder, no sail, and no guidance. She simply gave him to the river, kissed his forehead and let him go. The best we can do as a father or a mother is to prepare them for the river. Even when it doesn’t look like it was the right decision, trust the river. God used the river to sweep away, to cleanse, to divide, to cross, and to save. Our preparation and positioning at the water’s edge will determine which category we and our children fall into.
We want to say happy Mother’s Day from the heart of Christpoint church. We’re on the square in Sparta. Our service times are at 9:15 a.m. and 11 a.m., on Sundays. We’re real people, living real lives, serving a real God, one that controls the course of the river. Welcome home.