by Tracy Manno
This morning I was reading in the book of Exodus and was struck by something I really hadn’t spent much time thinking about before. The first three verses of Exodus 2 are all we are given in regard to the first three months of Moses life, and the heart-wrenching decision his mother made to send him down the Nile river in a basket. Can you imagine the anguish she must have gone through in making that decision? And not just that decision but all the way back to when she realized she was pregnant.
At that time Pharaoh, King of Egypt, decreed all male baby Israelites were to be murdered. Imagine how difficult the decision to even get pregnant would have been for any Jewish couple at that time. And imagine the anxiety she felt for 9 months as she carried the baby, not knowing its gender, wondering if her child would be taken and killed as all the others were.
With each of my 3 children, the moment of their births was filled with such joy for me and my wife. But imagine Moses’ mother when she gave birth and realized she had a son, to whom the order was given to kill. There was no lasting joy in that moment, only fear and impending dread.
In her despair she decided to hide Moses for three months while nursing him until she couldn’t hide him any longer. Those 3 months must have been more agonizing than the 9 months she carried him in her womb. The heartbreaking reminder, every day, every moment as she nursed her baby, growing more in love and tender to his needs, knowing she would have to give him up and never see him again.
The human pain and agony I just talked about was completely absent from the three verses of scripture we see in this story. We read nothing of the human element – her personal anguish. The living-nightmare she was in, and the agonizing trials of functioning every day within that nightmare, must have been overwhelming to say the least.
I must have read that passage at least a hundred times prior, but this time the absence of what she went through personally, emotionally, struck me the most. But as I thought about it, most of scripture is written that way. I suppose if the Bible included details of all the human experiences within the stories the final version would be too large to be practical. But it doesn’t take much for us to “fill in” those human gaps with our own understanding of the human condition. The “spaces” between the words in the Bible represent so much more than mere punctuation; they represent our story as well.
So often we read the Bible and recognize people only as characters, not real-life humans like you and me. But when we start to apply our own experiences of suffering, pain, tragedy, fear, love, perseverance, joy and every other part of the human condition, the stories become much more personal, and much more relatable.
The Bible says that Jesus came down from heaven and put on human flesh so that He could know us, relate to us, and be exceedingly merciful to us in every way. (Hebrews 2:14-18) In other words, when God became human He was able to fully enter into our suffering with us, as us, and ultimately for us.
It is with this same understanding I believe we are intended to enter into the scriptures. The Word of God is alive. We must not only see ourselves within its pages, but put ourselves there. We, along with humanity past, present and future, are in need of the Savior, and if we cannot place ourselves into the eternal story of God’s redemptive plan than we are hopelessly lost.
We are to connect with scripture at a very personal place. The spaces in-between the words and sentences offer us the opportunity to make that connection at a very real, and human, level.
As you fill yourself with God’s Word today ask that He would bring personal understanding and revelation for your life, and that you would find yourself within the pages of the greatest story ever told!