This morning these words from Exodus really resonated with my heart: “He looked down on the Israelites and felt deep concern for their welfare.” (2:25)
Four hundred years had passed since Joseph and his brothers were the first of the fledgling Israelite nation to settle in Egypt. The exact time God had allotted for them to be aliens and slaves. (Genesis 15:13-16) The time had now come for Him to take action.
When Moses the shepherd was living as a refugee in Midian, God got his attention from a burning bush and declared: “You can be sure I have seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard their cries of deliverance from their harsh slave drivers. Yes, I am aware of their suffering. So I have come to rescue them from the Egyptians and lead them out of Egypt into their own good and spacious land. It is a land flowing with milk and honey…” (3:7-8)
Moses needed some convincing that God really believed he was the right person for the unfathomable job of leading all of His people out of Egypt. To the Promised Land. Their own home. Could it be true? Then Moses met his brother Aaron, whom God appointed as spokesman, and together they went to share this news with the Israelite leaders. When the leaders “realized that the Lord had seen their misery and was deeply concerned for them, they all bowed their heads and worshiped.” (4:31b)
Worship. What a fitting way to respond to God’s deep and personal concern. How humbling to realize that God had not overlooked them. He had seen every act of injustice. He had heard each cry for deliverance. And He cared. Deeply.
Even when they couldn’t see it or feel it. He was there. And He felt their pain. There was not one moment during those 400 years of slavery that God had forgotten about them. He was waiting for just the right time. Because He had a perfect plan to rescue His people. A plan that would bring Him great glory throughout the whole earth.
We got a call last Thursday that CJ was in a hiking accident on his wilderness adventure in the Pacific NW. His wrist was broken, but he was in the hospital and doing fine. As subsequent phone calls revealed more pieces of the story, we discovered that CJ and Clay, in their small group of 5, had both fallen down a ravine about 9:00 Tuesday night.
Clay had fallen farther and harder and was in worse shape. The Coast Guard was reached via satellite the next morning from their remote location and arrived about 1:00 by helicopter to evacuate Clay. Almost as an afterthought, one of the Coast Guard noticed that CJ couldn’t help lift Clay’s stretcher, and decided to check out his swollen wrist. He quickly made CJ a splint and decided that he should also be evacuated in order to get x-rayed at the hospital.
Hearing this news was sobering for us realize how easy it would have been for the rescue helicopter to have left without CJ. For his swollen wrist to have gone unnoticed. He could so easily still be out there in the wilderness, toughing it out with a broken wrist, thinking it was just a sprain. But, thanks be to God, CJ was not overlooked. God brought needed attention to his wrist at just the right time. And he was rescued in a Coast Guard helicopter. An experience he will never forget.
While we were thousands of miles away and oblivious to what was going on, God was watching. For us to hear the details of what happened and to know how much worse it could have been, we know that God was clearly with that group of 5 in the remote wilderness. Protecting and preserving life. Providing rescue for both of the boys. And we are so thankful. Bowing our heads in worship to our sovereign and merciful God who never sleeps and who numbers the hairs on our heads.
We don’t know who chose our two boys in the orphanage—out of the many orphans there— to start processing their files to be available for international adoption. Because not many in that orphanage get adopted. When Charly and I went there to meet the boys, we learned that most of the children stay at the orphanage until they can start working at about age 16. They never become part of a family.
Why them and why now? We believe that God mysteriously intervened somehow. Our two boys were not overlooked. We believe that just as He did for the Israelites, God looked down and was deeply concerned for their welfare. He is continuing to move mountains and part the seas to provide a way for them to join our family. A family made by God, just for them.
And we bow our heads in worship in response to God’s deep and personal concern.
For the Israelites. For CJ and Clay. For our boys at the orphanage.
As they stood at the edge of the Red Sea, Moses told the people, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand where you are and watch the Lord rescue you…” (Exodus 14:13)