Writer: Megan Bouchillon
The sea of green scrubs took my newborn baby boy and I stood there until he was no longer in sight. Waves of fear washed over me. Why did I agree to this? I cannot protect him. I cannot go with him but I must let him go, to give him a chance at life. People tried to usher me to the waiting room but I shrugged them away. I was asked to take a seat in my wheelchair but I refused. I was going to stand there until my son came back from the operating room.
This experience was by far the hardest moment of my life. Only a few days into motherhood and I had to put my son’s life into the hands of strangers. Though they all introduced themselves, one-by-one, my eyes never left my baby. I did not know these people, and yet I had to trust that they would care for my child as I would. This incident brought to mind the story of a mother who too had to let go of her newborn child so he could live, but she had to let him drift away alone, down the Nile River.
The bible shares this profound story of a mother who courageously trusted God with her newborn baby’s life. In Exodus, we are told of a wicked Pharaoh, who became convinced that if he did not take drastic measures, the Israelites would one day try to overpower and dethrone him. He ordered all Hebrew baby boys to be killed so the Israelites had no soldiers to outnumber him. Jochebed, Moses’ mother, hid her newborn baby for as long as she could. A time came where she knew that his life was in jeopardy and his only chance for survival was to put him in a basket and lay it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile River (Exodus 2:3).
I cannot imagine what Jochebed was feeling the moment she released the basket from her grasp. All I can compare it to was when I had to let go of the stretcher that wheeled my baby into a room that I knew I would never see. For me, everything about that moment felt unnatural; as if mothers are never meant to experience such things. I remember looking at the massive size of the stretcher in comparison to my son’s stature and getting that sickening feeling of disorientation. Even the wires seemed to multiply and snake around my son’s frail body. The room that we met the medical team in was actually not a room at all. We were in a hallway, filled to capacity with surgeons and doctors. I felt like I was in the middle of a ring, thousands of wide eyes on me, waiting for me to crawl out of my own skin.
How did Jochebed trust God so abundantly? How did she muster up the courage to let go of the basket? The fear that consumed me was so intense I felt it physically and yet, I still released him. Why? Because I knew, despite my fears, that God loved my baby boy even more than I. I had faith that God was with him when I couldn’t be. I trusted that God had a plan to use my son, Elijah, beyond this moment of uncertainty. That just like the meaning of his name, “Yahweh is God,” that my baby boy would have the chance to share with the world that God is Lord; King of all kings. I believed that God’s word was indisputable, “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” (Jeremiah 32:27, NLT).
I truly believe that Jochebed knew this too. She trusted that God had anointed her son and would keep him safe so he could fulfill the miraculous purpose God spoke over Moses. In fact, God arranged for another woman to be in the river at the time when the basket drifted by. Pharaoh’s daughter was bathing in the Nile and she rescued Moses. She took one look at him and committed to raising him as her own. How good is God? No one else could have taken in Moses and ensured the protection that the Pharaoh’s daughter could provide. And to take it even further, Jochebed was later hired to nurse Moses. God not only gave Moses a chance to live an abundant life in the Pharaoh’s palace but He provided a way for his birth mother to care for him and watch him grow. God not only provided safe passage for Jochebed’s baby but he brought her an even greater peace by allowing her to be his caretaker once more.
In the midst of the greatest trail of my life, God brought peace far beyond what I could have ever imagined, just like he did for Jochebed. When my baby was sent into the operating room, God positioned the “most brilliant and best surgeon in the southeast” to be there that day. God made a way for us to be with our son, even though we lived nowhere near the children’s hospital. When we began to worry about Eli’s care, God brought us a nurse/doctor that gave us peace and reassurance. When we were told our son wouldn’t be able to pass his tests or that he was unable to do certain things on his own, God said yes he will. When anxiety began to creep in about finding a way to cover our ever growing expenses, God showed up and covered it all.
What mighty work God must have in store for my Eli and who am I to stand in the way of His will. By not trusting Him, I am robbing not only myself but my child from experiencing God’s unwavering faithfulness, love and presence in his life. God knows our children before He forms them in our wombs. Before they were even born, He set them apart and appointed them as His prophets to the nations (Jeremiah 1:5). Just like Moses, God has already set your children aside for a special task and summoned them by name (Isaiah 43:1). Your children have a purpose and it is God’s will, not yours.
Whether you have or have yet to watch your child face hardship, be thankful that God is providing an opportunity to sow seeds of the gospel within their heart and others. Trust that He has a plan and that no trail will go without a testimony. Have the courage to let go of the basket and know that God gathers his children into his arms and carries them close to his heart; gently leading them (Isaiah 40:11) down this winding river we call life.