The words aren’t written in my neatest handwriting. With arthritis continuing to take its toll on my body for multiple decades now, I only write neat when I have to make it count. In my little scrawly print I wrote in the margin, “Who or What is my Egypt? Who am I relying on more than God?”
You see, I’ve played this game in real life.
There was a time where I would have said I was relying on God, but I really had a few other things that I thought would “save” me, not having a clue that I was blinded to reality.
- I’m trusting in God, for sure, but having a significant amount of financial savings is truly important and keeps me afloat.
- I’m trusting in God, for sure, but a healthy body, well, a healthy and whole body is not to be underestimated.
- I’m trusting in God, for sure, but how thankful I am for my education, a profession which will supply me with what I need based on my academic prowess.
- I’m trusting in God, for sure, but my talents and gifts are awfully nice and I love to use them for others. . .and for me.
- I’m trusting in God, for sure, but my family and friends are amazing. I can’t tell you how important they are to me.
- I’m trusting in God, for sure, but my kids, God, well my kids and their accomplishments are what makes me who I am, right? I mean, isn’t a “good” Christian mother totally wrapped up in her kids? Surely, that’s scriptural!
And one Friday afternoon on a blazing hot highway in West Virginia, as I sat trapped in a smashed minivan simply trying to breathe, I came to a stark realization: I currently had none of it! It was all gone . . . in an instant. My bank account did me no good as I gasped for each shallow breath. There would be no way I could pay all of the bills which were adding up, literally, by the minute. My body was f-a-r from healthy, but I didn’t get to stop living. I still was the person I was created to be. On a West Virginia highway, no one cared about my academic awards and successes, nor what I even did for a living. To them, I was just the woman from Indiana who two sets of jaws-of-life were working to free. My talents did me no good at that point. I don’t think I could have sung a note if I’d tried and making the paramedics laugh was the last thing on my mind.
Even my family and friends were of no help at that point. I didn’t even know where they’d taken my husband, daughter, and son. Lots of people back home had not one clue, what was going on in my life, nor that my situation was so grave. And my kids, well my son was asked a lot of questions at the scene of the wreck, but none of them had to do with his GPA, his academic awards, or his running accomplishments. “I’m Cameron. I’m 13. That’s my sister, Alissa. She’s 15. That’s my mom, Amy. She’s 44. We’re from Indiana. We were heading to Virginia Beach. The car pulled in front of us across the highway. My sister is a runner.”
The pandemic has shown us so much these past long months, and one thing I’ve said over and over is I think it’s shown what’s inside all of us. Whoever we are . . . whatever is deep down inside us has bubbled to the top and is continually spilling out. Our levels of sacrifice, patience, and coping strategies are all more visible than they’ve ever been before. I would also offer it has shown us, “Who or what is our Egypt.” That’s in reference to Isaiah chapter 31 when God reminds the Israelites, “Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, who rely on horses, who trust in the multitude of their chariots.”
Dear Reader, all those things that we “think” we can trust in or on: our finances, our health, our education, our family and friends, our accomplishments, well . . . the virus doesn’t care. I think we all know that in our heads, but for some of us, this is the first time we really haven’t been able to truly not depend on our “stuff,” the things we thought were important. And for some of us, we learned it the hard way one awful summer afternoon and we don’t want to go back to our old way of living. So we continually have to keep asking ourselves, “Who or What is my Egypt? Who or what am I relying on more than God?”
And that, Dear Reader, if we’re honest, is a tough tough question . . . which is probably why neither you nor I like to ask it.
Until the next Wednesday the Lord allows.