Friday, September 1, 2023

Devotionals for the Heart: A life lesson about the providence of God

The Paper Bassinette
A devotional by Chaplain Paul Anderson

“When she could hide him no longer, she took for him a basket made of bulrushes and daubed it with bitumen and pitch. She put the child in it and placed it among the reeds by the river bank.” 
–Exodus 2:3 (ESV)

One day when I drove up to the parking space near the daycare provider’s home, my son told me that he wanted to walk to her door alone and that I should watch him.

I helped him out of his car seat. When he slid down to the pavement, he turned to me and reiterated that he wanted to go alone. I watched him make his way to the door and knock. When Marge opened the door, she looked at him standing there alone. She looked up at me standing beside the car and waved with an understanding look at my grieving face. She then hugged him as they went inside. I sat in the car for a while and cried. My only son was four years old and exercising independence and autonomy.

School is back in session. Many parents are simultaneously celebrating and grieving the transitions that their children are making. Whether it is daycare, kindergarten, first grade, middle school, high school, college or the workplace, parents are watching their children leave the protection of home to sail into new life dynamics.

Perhaps the story of Moses is illustrative of the overarching providence of God and the partnership with parents in creating the destinies of our children.

Born in a time of government sponsored genocide, Moses survived. His parents protected him as long as they could. At the end of their “family medical leave”, his parents took a leap of faith and constructed a paper bassinette. It was cunningly waterproofed with a primitive form of Flex Seal. After ensuring that the bassinette would float, they stayed within the letter of the law and cast the baby into the Nile, albeit a protected cove of reeds and cattails.

Providentially, the baby was discovered by a princess (the Pharaoh's daughter) while she bathed in the river. She took compassion on Moses and decided to adopt him. The princess continued to nurture Moses as he grew up and eventually, she introduced him into Egyptian high society. Throughout the early part of his life Moses was divinely protected and providentially prepared for the tactical destiny that lay before him.

Our children can be similarly protected by divinity for their destinies if we as parents do the work of waterproofing the crucibles of our children’s development. From the cradle through the classrooms, parents can add ballast and buoyancy to the lives of our children by prayerfully and faithfully immersing them, daily, in spirituality and values-based education. As they mature, their characters can be honed by presenting them with scenarios and controlled crisis that prepare them for real world circumstances that will display their character and draw out their integrity.

The story of Moses demonstrates that even if given the best of environments, every decision or experience that our children will face may not be good ones and that the consequences of bad behaviors are not comfortable. Moses acted inappropriately based upon a misguided sense of destiny and entitlement. It cost him dearly. Our children will make some mistakes, poor choices, and errors in judgment. Like Moses did, they too can recover, do right and live well.

As did Amram and Jochebed, let’s make spiritual investments in our children. Cover them daily with prayer. Teach them timeless truths of faith, spirituality, principle centered living and life skills. Test them. Coach them. Buff up the image of God in their lives and teach them to see and validate the image of God in others. In so doing, we can waterproof the crucibles of their lives. Instead of sinking, they will float. Later they will sail. Later still, they may soar. The Bible says in Isaiah 40:31 (KJV), “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” It is important to pray for our children!

Let’s Pray: Almighty God, we lay our children before you today. As they have started school again, we ask your covering grace upon them, their fellow students, teachers and staff members. Make their schools into havens of peace, security, and harmony. Keep them safe while enroute, while they're and on their way home. Make our homes fortresses of faith, love and rest. Develop Your dreams for us within us and use us as Heaven’s Ambassadors within our spheres of influence. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: "
When You Believe" by Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey. Listen to it here.

Author Bio:

Chaplain Paul Anderson served for 20 years as a U.S. Navy Chaplain. Over 26 years of active duty, he was promoted through the ranks from Seaman Apprentice (E2) to his final rank as Commander (O5) in the Chaplain’s Corps.

Prior to his Naval career, Chaplain Anderson pastored in the Allegheny East and Potomac Conferences of Seventh-day Adventists. His undergraduate preparation for ministry was completed at Washington Adventist University in Takoma Park, Md.

He has subsequently earned four graduate degrees: a Master of Divinity from Andrews University in Michigan, a Master of Education in Counseling and Personnel Services from the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland and a Masters of Sacred Theology in Religion and Culture from Boston University. His Doctor of Ministry degree was conferred by Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C.

Chaplain Anderson also completed four units of Clinical Pastoral Education at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He also holds certifications in Suicide Awareness and Prevention, Civil Mediation, Alternative Workplace Dispute Resolution, Temperament Analysis, Marriage Enrichment, Workforce Diversity, and is a certified Life Coach.

You may connect with Chaplain Anderson via email at this address,

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