I saw a post recently on Facebook that said, “Sometimes you just have to put your baby in a basket.” I wish I could remember who posted it, because along with the comment, was a baby picture at a photography studio somewhere of a baby all dressed up for a photo shoot…sitting in a basket. It is a pretty standard pose these days and has been for years. Probably because it is an easy pose with plenty of support for babies who cannot sit up on their own yet. You’ve seen these shots, haven’t you? A baby in a tub, or a basket full of flowers, or a wicker basket with a stuffed animal. People post them on Facebook and they are some of the cutest poses, as if this round- faced tyke just loves sitting in a basket. These pictures make it seem like someone walking down the road could easily happen upon a field full of cherubs all smiling adorable smiles from woven containers of all shapes and sizes. The thing is…this post caught me completely by surprise. It took my breath away; because I recognized that picture…I have four of them…one with each of my little children, sitting in a basket. (Which I spent hours today trying to find to post with this blog to no avail. The photos here are from the internet.) But more so than the picture, the meaning is what caused me to gasp. “Sometimes you just have to put your baby in a basket.” When I read that statement I SAW the truth of it and it pierced my heart.
What desperation must Moses’s mom have felt? How dire were her circumstances that she would think putting her baby in a basket and putting the basket in the river was her best option? My guess is that she had tried everything within her power to be able to keep her baby hidden from those who sought to take his life. I can picture her shushing him in the quiet of the night so his cries would not be heard. I can envision her sneaking around to him periodically throughout the day to check on him. Always looking over her shoulder and straining her ears to hear every word on the streets. Knowing that each day she kept him he was in more danger than before. I can feel her worry that her son would be discovered and drowned in the river. Her heart beating faster as Egyptians passed her…the feeling that everyone was onto her secret and watching her every move. The agonizing decision she faced as she tossed and turned on sleepless nights…keep her son and wait for his certain death at the hands of the enemy…or give him up to the river and never know his fate. I feel her brain scrambling for another way…smuggle him out…but to whom? Run away with him…but to where? The question reverberating in her head over and over…How can I keep him? I feel her tear stained cheeks as she prayed for God to intervene and begged for mercy for her son.
Then came the day the choice was made. The basket prepared. The slow and heavy steps to the shore. The unburdening of her arms, the ache of her soul as she laid him in the basket. Her throbbing breasts leaking milk for need of a baby. The longing last glance at him as she put on the lid. The pounding of her heart as she pushed the basket into the water. The tears that flowed and flowed and flowed as she turned and walked away. The desire to turn around and dive into the water to retrieve him. The resolve to ignore her heart’s cry and keep walking. The veil across her face to hide the shallow breaths and the streams rolling down her cheeks.
She made the only choice she could. Trust God. Something she had believed she was doing for years…until this difficult moment when she learned the meaning of total surrender when she pushed the basket with her child into the river. Where would he end up? Would he ever grow up? What would be his fate? Did she really trust that God had plans for him? Did she really believe that God could protect this innocent baby? It was her step into blind faith. It was her realization that he wasn’t hers any longer. He belonged to God. The answer came to her ringing question: How can I keep him? And it was,“Sometimes you just have to put your baby in a basket.” Of course, we know that the story has a glorious ending, but she didn’t know that when she watched the current carry him away. Moms never know.
For all the moms walking their kids to kindergarten and moving them into dorm rooms. For all the moms watching them walking down the aisle and waving good-bye at airports. For all the moms who stumble away from prison visits and sit by hospital beds. For all the moms who transport possessions and transform apartments into homey living spaces. For all the moms who send them off to war and wait by the phone. For all the moms who wonder what will become of them? Will they be safe? What is in store for their future? I say…you can’t keep them. I know you want to…but sometimes, you just have to put your baby in a basket… and trust God.