Women of Welcome

Can you imagine? Young Miriam is watching her baby brother being placed into a river by her mother, and she is asked to stand by and watch. Jochebed is absent from this part of the story. And I (Sarah) find myself holding my breath with Miriam as we watch what will happen to baby Moses. I can’t help but imagine the emotions running through her young mind and body. Did she experience fear of what was going to happen? Was she confused by her mother’s choices? Did she wonder with angst about what she was supposed to be doing exactly? 

Few things are more frustrating than being put “on hold,” especially when the situation feels desperate and dire. Many of us experienced this liminal space during 2020 as we watched the news, erased events from our calendars, and waited to see what the future would hold. It was unsettling and scary for many. 

Yet in those moments of held breath, of not knowing, Miriam was faithful. She obeyed her mother, and she stood at a distance to watch and see what would happen. For many of us, standing by and waiting to see feels impossible. We don’t want to stand by and watch pain and suffering. Many of us feel drawn to two choices: busy ourselves trying to “do something” or walk away and avoid the difficult reality of standing by to watch. 

But there are moments when God asks us to stand by someone experiencing danger or suffering. We may not know exactly what we’re supposed to do, and we may feel confused and fearful. The invitation is to be faithful and walk along the river, watching and waiting. Sometimes our presence is what’s being asked of us, and it may not feel like enough; it may not feel effective. As we’ll see with Miriam, our faithful presence could lead us to be in the right place at the right time.

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