Then Joseph died, and all his brothers and all that generation. But the people of Israel were fruitful and increased greatly; they multiplied and grew exceedingly strong, so that the land was filled with them.
Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. And he said to his people, “Behold, the people of Israel are too many and too mighty for us. Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and, if war breaks out, they join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land.” Therefore they set taskmasters over them to afflict them with heavy burdens. They built for Pharaoh store cities, Pithom and Raamses. But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and the more they spread abroad. And the Egyptians were in dread of the people of Israel. So they ruthlessly made the people of Israel work as slaves and made their lives bitter with hard service, in mortar and brick, and in all kinds of work in the field. In all their work they ruthlessly made them work as slaves.
Then the king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah, “When you serve as midwife to the Hebrew women and see them on the birthstool, if it is a son, you shall kill him, but if it is a daughter, she shall live.” Exodus 1:6-16
It seems these days we’re experiencing pressures most haven’t felt before. To be sure, there are those who’ve experienced the pressure of a World War, a Cold War, fear of nuclear destruction, political upheaval and significant civil rights pursuits and unrest. So, for those of us in the former, these are trying times, and those in the latter who are familiar, it may seem like a rerun. Either viewpoint can be full of real and perceived pressure and stress. It’s times like these where I’d prefer previous experience to fall back on.
In many of my jobs, I’ve worked with those who were veterans. Their experiences varied from logistics, where getting supplies from point A to B was their role, or they disarmed roadside IED’s in Iraq. Both roles can, and often do, have stress. In my experiences, when stress and problems at work cause fellow workers to become overloaded and frantic, those veterans lean on their experience and perspective to maintain an even keel, and get through tough situations. I’m sure experience with hard things helps quite a bit, but I’m positive their perspective gives them the ability to behave coolly and efficiently. They’ve been here before.
Though there are many of us who haven’t previously experienced all these things going on today, we have a unique perspective to guide us. This perspective is eternal! As Jesus followers, we’re family members in a Kingdom stretching from eternity past to eternity future. Even today, we enjoy the benefits and perspectives of this Kingdom. This Kingdom perspective can help us navigate life, using God’s strength for what’s going on today, and what we can’t possibly foresee. Remember, Jesus has seen it all and knows what fruit these experiences will produce in us, all of which are ultimately good (Genesis 50:19-20, Romans 8:28). As these experiences seem to crash over us in huge waves, recall our Kingdom perspective and look to the one who strengthens us all. Look to God.
By Rich Obrecht