Moses’ mom’s neighbour
I can remember the day, the time, the minute. This was the moment when I knew that something in me had been changed and I was no longer seeing the world in the same way. We were on our church camp and listening to a sermon. The speaker was sharing about Moses (Exodus 2). Moses, as we know, was born at a time when the Egyptian Pharaoh had ordered that all sons born to Hebrews be killed at birth. The speaker declared with great enthusiasm that God always has a plan – and proceeded to talk about how Moses’ life was spared through the cunning of his mother and sister, and the hand of God. As I was listening to this, one question struck me:
What about Moses’ mom’s neighbour? Her son was not spared. I imagined Moses’ mom praising God, thankful for how her son was still alive, whilst her the neighbour was broken hearted at the death of her own son. Where was God for her? Did He not care, could He not have made a plan so that her son could also live?
I know that the old Jacqui would not have considered this; I would have gotten caught up in the victory of God as the speaker was doing. I would not have thought to wonder about someone like the lady who lived next to Moses’ mom, and how she dealt with her suffering. However, since walking the journey with my little Matthew God has opened my eyes to those who often melt into the background because their story is not about miraculous victories.
Whilst Matt was still in my womb we had a scan that showed that something might be wrong with our unborn baby. During that time God really encouraged us through the prayers that we received from many different people. We really wanted to believe that our child had been healed and was going to be born healthy.
Lloyd, as a doctor, had always grappled with the concept of healing, but chose to trust. He had a mental image of him standing in front of the church holding up a 100% healthy baby declaring God’s miracle. Things did not turn out as we hoped.
Matt was born with a genetic syndrome – which means that there is something missing from the cells in his body resulting in him having health problems, and it means that he will grow up much slower than other children. Although he is now 2, he looks and acts like a 1 year old. Children with Matt’s syndrome may have some of the following problems – they may never talk, their brains will work slower so they don’t learn in the same way as others, they may have problems with their eyes, their stomachs, their fingers and toes, their mouths.
The first few months of Matt’s life were really hard for us. He had feeding problems, he was always throwing up and he was ill. The most painful thing was, however his slow development - click here for a poem that I wrote during the first year that highlights the sorrow of having a child that took so long to appreciate that I was there.
We must be honest and say that we were disappointed that God had not answered our prayers in the way that we had hoped. We were confused because we know that God can heal, he can do miracles. We didn’t know how to pray anymore. We felt angry, lost, sad, guilty, alone, betrayed, and tired.
We are not the only ones
And that brings us back to the lady who lived next door to Moses’ mom – who would also have felt the same feelings – only hers would have been more deep and painful. If we look through the bible, we see that she is not alone. There are others who seemingly were overlooked when it came to receiving that miraculous answer to prayer:
Think about the Jews living in and around Bethlehem in the time just after Jesus was born – all boys under the age of 2 were slaughtered (Matthew 2: 16).
What about John the Baptist, he didn’t experience miraculous saving, instead he was beheaded! (Matthew 14:1-12)
And when Jesus healed an invalid at Bethesda pool? What a joyous day for this poor man who had been unwell for 38 years. But what a disappointing day for the “great number of disabled people – the blind, the lame, the paralysed” who were also lying around the same pool (John 5:1-15)? It does not say that Jesus healed them.
In Hebrews 11 we read about the martyrs of the early church who suffered for the gospel. No miraculous rescue for them, instead were tortured, faced jeers and flogging, chained and put in prison, stoned, sawed in two, were put to death by sword, went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated (Hebrews 11: 35 – 37)
If we look at the disciples of Jesus, all of them – except for one – were violently put to death.
We see that the victorious, miraculous answer to prayer doesn’t always happen. What does God have to say about that? .... We explore that in part 2. Click here to go to Part 2.