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Good Morning MVC - May11thby Joe Phenisee on May 11, 2020
Good Morning MVC
Happy Monday to you and your families today.
Anyone else thrilled about the weather we’ve been having lately? If you’re like me, there’s nothing like the sun, a cool breeze, or the sound of splashing water when it comes to brightening my mood. Notice, I said the sound of water and not getting into it because as most people know, I can’t swim.
Jill has tried to to teach me multiple times, and we will continue to resume those lessons once LA Fitness reopens their doors because it has been 1.5 years, and I have yet to experience the MVC staff rite of passage known as going down the Kemp Waterslide.
You know there isn’t much in common I share with the ancient Israelites, but one thing we can both agree on is that water is frightening and unpredictable. So much so, that when life went sideways, when things took a turn for the worse, when the world seemed to be riddled in disorder, the Israelites would use the raging waters as a metaphor for such an experience. They imagined their predicament as being caught up in the waves, being violently thrown to and fro with no direction or purpose.
One person who definitely experienced these feelings was Moses. Having been born to a Hebrew slave, but raised by an Egyptian princess, it is likely that Moses grew up with much uncertainty about his identity, community, and direction in life. And to be fair, if he never figured it out could we blame him? After all, his earliest memory is being tossed into a basket, thrown into a river, and narrowly avoiding an execution via drowning.
Not exactly the best start to a life, nor the best introduction to swimming.
But what I love about Moses, is how he reflects on his earliest memories. Now there is a lot of debate on the authorship of Exodus, and if you want to have that conversation we can have that elsewhere, but let’s assume with tradition that Moses wrote the narrative of his life.
One of the thing that get missed in the English translation is the nuance that Moses gives to the second chapter of Exodus. Most of us will read that Moses was placed in a “basket.” And while this is what happened, what’s interesting is that in the Hebrew, Moses uses the word Tebah.
That’s T E B A H.
Prior to Exodus, the word Tebah is used 26 times in Genesis, and all of them occur in the story of Noah, because the word Tebah means ark.
So my point is this, years later when Moses reflects on this traumatic experience, he doesn’t see it as a mistake or a misfortune that God took him out of. Where most might see randomness, chaos, or confusion…, Moses sees purpose, order, and clarity.
It wasn’t that he was placed into a basket and by chance things turned out well, but God had placed him in an ark… because it was always within His plan to draw one man out of the river, that a whole people might pass through a sea. And just as Noah and his family symbolized the possibility of a new creation, here in this ark laid a child who represented the birth of a new community.
What others might interpret as a senseless start to life, Moses defines as a purposeful beginning.
Where others saw a basket, Moses saw an ark.
Now I am the world’s greatest pessimist. I often look at the glass half empty, and I am so prone to despair. So you can imagine that Covid 19 has given me a lifetime’s worth of anxiety and worry. And honestly, I can’t wait for all this to pass and for things to get normal. Because most days I feel like I’m stuck in a basket, just waiting for the waves to calm and for someone to carry me out.
But what if Moses is right? What if we are not orphans abandoned in baskets, but children who are kept with purpose in arks? What if this time is meant to propel us into our destiny, and this time of uncertainty is but the preparation for a new thing God wants to do in the world and through us?
The wonderful Mike Foster said there are two ways we could be thinking about this season of life. Either we are sheltering in place and life is stagnant, or we are cocooning and life is more dynamic than ever.
MVC remember that while you may feel stifled and isolated, while it may feel like everything is falling apart, you are not stuck in a basket, but God has placed you in an ark. So when those doors open, be ready to share with the world the new things that God has been doing in you and will be doing through you.
Hope you have a wonderful day, and God bless.