“When she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in the reeds along the bank of the Nile.” Exodus 2:3
It was time for Jochebed to remove baby Moses from her home. Otherwise, he would be killed.
She did all she knew to prepare him.
She took reeds and formed a basket. She coated it with tar and pitch, making sure every crack and seam was tightly protected from water seeping in. Then, when there was nothing else she could do, she placed him in the basket, laid it in the reeds, and took her hands off and stepped away, knowing God was in control.
Does that process sound familiar? Is there something or someone you’ve been preparing, and now it’s time to let go? Are you sending a child to preschool, high school or college? Are you struggling to take your hands off your adult children as you see them make bad choices? Have you poured your heart into a project, situation, or relationship and don’t know how it’s going to turn out?
Moses’ mother wasn’t different from me or you. Every one of us has similar fears and struggles when taking our hands off of things we need to release to God.
There are three truths about letting go we can learn from Jochebed in this short verse.
1. There’s a time to let go. The time for Jochebed was when Moses was only 3 months old! Yet, God knew this situation before Moses’ conception. He also knew the plans he had for Moses.
Whether it’s your child, a situation, a hope, or a dream, God usually asks you to let go of that person, situation, or object before you’re ready. Letting go doesn’t mean you’re removing the situation or person from your life (unless God’s asking you), it means you’re releasing control of the person or situation to God. There’s a time to hold on. And there’s a time to let go.
2. Obedient preparation is your responsibility. Jochebed had to gather those reeds. Weave them together. Get the tar hot. Put it on the basket, and seal every crack. I’m sure she went over it again and again until she realized she did all she could to make the basket safe.
She was faithful to do what she could given the resources. You and I need to do the same. Whether it’s a relationship, a job change, or preparing a child for a hard situation, God asks us to prepare to the best of our ability. Then, we have to let go.
When my son got married this summer, I wondered if I had done all I could to prepare him for marriage. I realized I hadn’t counseled him on marriage because his dad and I were busy raising him to be a responsible man whose heart was tender and turned towards God.
Then, I realized I had done what I could to prepare him to be a godly man, including his role as a husband. I pointed him towards Scripture as the source for life’s instructions. I hopefully modeled respect for his dad and trained him how to take care of himself instead of expecting me or another woman to pick up after him. We taught his fiscal responsibility and how to work hard. I often talked to him about being a servant leader.
I had done what I could to the best of my ability.
Giving him one big final lecture before his wedding would have been completely awkward (so I wrote a blog post instead). I had to trust I had been responsible with the task God had given me all along.
The same is true for anything God’s asking you to let go of. Medical conditions, relationships, pursuing a dream. There comes a time when we smooth that last bit of tar on the outside of our situation and say, “I’ve done all I can. Now it’s time to let go.”
3. Trusting God is the only way you do it. Jochebed released control of the deadly situation to God. She had to have faith that God would provide for her baby in the river filled with crocodiles. She had to be certain of what she hoped for and sure of what she could not see (Hebrews 11:1).
Hebrews 11:6 says without faith you can’t please God. Obedience pleases God, but obedient faith is where He works. God was already working, though Jocebed couldn’t see what was going on (for the compete story, read the rest of Exodus 2). In these moments, she had to trust. She had to have faith. And so do you.
Whether you’re releasing a child to a new school year, letting go of a situation out of your control, you can depend on God to provide. He’s in control. But He can’t work if you refuse to put the hope, dream, person, or situation in the water. Lay it down. Let it go.
And see what God does.
How can I pray for you as you put your baby in the basket? I’d love to hear from you.