Sunday’s lectionary was Exodus 1:8 – 2:10. Was struck by how much women featured in this short reading. Different ages, status, vocations. Yet each of them carried something of God’s light in and presence with them (yes, even Pharaoh’s daughter!). Brave midwives who feared God. A resourceful mother who had to let go – and then received back what she lost. A smart, watchful sister with great sense of timing. A compassionate princess who could take advice from a child. Perhaps it’s like what Buechner said, that the holiness of our origin echoes in our selves:
“Life batters and shapes us in all sorts of ways before it’s done, but those original selves which we were born with, and which I believe we continue in some measure to be no matter what, are selves which still echo with the holiness of their origin. I believe that what Genesis suggests is that this original self, with the print of God’s thumb still upon it, is the most essential part of who we are and is buried deep in all of us as a source of wisdom and strength and healing which we can draw upon or, with our terrible freedom, not draw upon as we choose. I think that among other things all real art comes from that deepest self – painting, writing music, dance, all of it that in some way nourishes the spirit and enriches the understanding. I think that our truest prayers come from there too, the often unspoken, unbidden prayers that can rise out of the lives of unbelievers as well as believers whether they recognize them as prayers or not. And I think that from there also come our best dreams and our times of gladdest playing and taking it easy and all those moments when we find ourselves being better or stronger or braver or wiser than we are.” ― Frederick Buechner, Telling Secrets (https://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/118704-telling-secrets)
My thoughts stayed with these women even through Ps L’s message was on being Content in Christ (last bit of Philippians 4). It was important to hear that ‘Contentment doesn’t mean having no desires in life’. It’s not about being devoid of emotions, or to stop caring for others. Christian contentment is found in seeking God not self; being God-sufficient. In fact, could even say that it is precisely when I am content in Christ that each desire is safer, each emotion is purer, and caring for others truer.
When I am content in Christ and anchored in Him, I need not fear the desires I do have, but can confidently converse with God about them, and trust Him.
Can I carry something of God’s light in and presence with me – through my contentment and confidence in Him? How much more do I have to learn about what it really means to seek Him and not myself?
Am I confident in God’s power? Reminds me of
More than once I have heard God say that power belongs to him and that his love is constant.
You yourself, O Lord, reward everyone according to their deeds. (Psalm 62:11-12, GNT)
Am I confident of God’s provision? Reminds me of
Indeed, the Lord will give what is good,
And our land will yield its produce. (Psalm 85:12, NASB)
For this God is our God for ever and ever;
he will be our guide even to the end. (Psalm 48:14)
The events of Exodus 1-2 are dramatic. Standing in ordinary life in comfortable Singapore today, it’s hard to fully understand the scenario, politics, stakes, grief. Our/my struggle today is seldom in blood; more often in the mundane and materialistic. Our spirits may not be deliberately crushed with hard labour today, but we are slaves to many things, even people.
In the midst of it – to know Christ and His contentment. And be brave, resourceful, surrendered, smart and watchful, and compassionate.
We can live ‘One day at a time’ – because we have One God, all the time.