Beautiful Day

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Learning from Little Children and the Word

"The LORD will fight for you and you have only to be silent."
--Exodus 14:14, ESV

This past weekend my Country Girls participated in the local contest of the National Bible Bee. It was an exciting and fun day to culminate a summer of intensive Bible study and Scripture memory. We enjoyed meeting weekly with others who were preparing for our local contest. Our wonderful hosts did a fabulous job motivating the children and making the learning fun.

I am so very proud of my girls' hard work. It amazes me how difficult the task of studying is, but how well they apply themselves to do the very best they can. I appreciated the inductive study of the book of 1 Peter alongside them. I learned so much and I'm not ready to be done with that aspect yet. But I could not keep pace AT ALL with the amount of Scripture memory work! This is a discipline I have been working on recovering some more. I don't quite seem to reach my goal, but I manage to do some which is generally more than I accomplish otherwise. I have wonderful memories of walking the beach one particular summer as a college student and spending so much time memorizing verses. Those verses have continued to stay with me! It is so worth it. But it is true (at least for me) that it's harder as you get older. So many more distractions, I suppose.

So as I participated with the girls in our local meetings each week, I often had the privilege of listening to various children recite verses. The verse I most often heard was Exodus 14:14. This was one of the shortest memory verses of the summer, so it tended to be one of the first ones the children learned and the youngest children could retain this one well. I don't know how many times I heard it this summer. And all of a sudden, it is resonating with me.

Our family has been going through Ray Vanderlaan's "That the World May Know" Faith Lessons once a week. It is a fascinating trip to Israel and the surrounding lands of the Bible via DVD. The lessons are so engaging and rich with meaning and the beauty of "seeing" the places where events of the Bible and the life of Jesus and his disciples took place. So we have recently been studying about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. At the conclusion of one of the volumes which left off at the parting of the Red Sea, we revisited the animated movie "The Prince of Egypt" with our children. This has been one we enjoy watching over again (a warning: as you can imagine with the biblical account, there are some parts that can be intense for young children so watch with discretion). Like all Hollywood movies, there are artistic liberties, but for the most part it seems to try to stay close to Scripture and I appreciate that. I also happen to think that it does a good job of engaging (me) in the sense of both the cry of the Israelites for deliverance over a very long period of time, and the sense of power in God's mighty works.

After hearing this verse repeated many times this summer, I decided to look up its context in Exodus (as I believe context is critical). I found myself drawn to this verse because as I approach childbirth I am finding myself somewhat anxious. So, like the Israelites, I am facing my own fears right now. One would think that having been through this more than a few times, it would be easier, right? But I find I am not alone in these feelings as I talk with other expectant mothers. There's something about knowing what's coming that heightens the anxiety. Yes, the ultimate result is glorious when that baby is born. But the journey there can be difficult and painful. I think it's one of the few experiences in life where you actually know you are going to walk through a trial in advance--a fairly short, but intense one.

So I was amazed upon my study to learn that God did indeed tell Moses that Pharoah's heart would again be hardened and that the Egyptians would pursue the Israelites to the edge of the Red Sea. He said that He would do this to show Pharoah that He was the Lord. He also told Moses what the outcome would be--that the Egyptians would perish. So when the Israelites saw the Egyptian chariots in full pursuit, they were desperate and afraid and cried out to Moses and to God fearing the worst. Moses seems to calmly tell them not to fear, but to trust the LORD and watch as He again delivers them and sends the Egyptians into the sea. They have only to be silent. The Lord is fighting for them without the need for them to cry out for it! I find this a comforting thought and something I want to recall to mind often in the midst of labor. Moses tells them "Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today." (Exodus 14:13. NKJV)

So I am hopeful that though it may be a challenge to "stand still" or even to "be silent" in the midst of birthing, that I will find comfort in knowing that He is my advocate. He is for me and is at work in the whole process. I have never liked the word "delivery" to describe a baby being born. It sounds too medical or sterile or something. But when I consider the word in this context it helps me see that there is a sort of deliverance that women walk through in the birthing process. If only we allow ourselves to be still, as it were, and allow Him to fight for us. I AM looking forward to that.

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