“This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you.” Even though no child has ever believed those words, parents know the grim truth: Sometimes it hurts to love.
Moses’ mother knew this all too well. Baby number three was on the way. If it was a girl, she would have three mouths to feed. If it was a boy, by government decree she’d have to feed that child to the Nile River. And then he was born. She loved the child. And that’s what made it hurt. It hurt to think what might happen to this child. It hurts to love.
But it’s also that “love-’til-it-hurts” attitude that leads people to act in extraordinary ways. The love of the mother of Moses drove her to great lengths. Can you imagine how difficult it would be to give birth and not tell anyone? Parents today can’t go 24 hours without posting about their child: “Johnny smiled today,” “Faith rolled over,” “Timmy likes carrots.” Out of love, Moses’ mother muffled her infant’s cries for three months. Imagine the energy and determination that took. Every knock at the door she’d have to hide not only her son but also every evidence of his existence.
When hiding his existence no longer seemed viable, love drove Moses’ mother to take another risk. She was willing to give him up, hoping and praying that someone else might take him. By the grace of God, that’s exactly what happened. The Egyptian princess adopted Moses, trained him to be a leader, and even found his very own mother as the nanny. Read the amazing story in Exodus 2:1-10. God’s providence is usually the focal point of this familiar story, but don’t miss the display of love. The love-’til-it-hurts display from Moses’ mother is tremendous.
How could she do it? She knew another’s love. She knew the love of her God. If there is ever a parent who knows that love hurts, it’s our heavenly Father. As children of his creative hand, he has a deep bond with each and every one of us. Imagine how it hurt him to know that because of sin we weren’t just headed for the river, we were heading to the lake of fire. Thankfully, he wasn’t content to just say, “Oh well.” His love drove him to great lengths. His love drove him to offer up his Son to rescue us. Like Father, like Son. Jesus loved ’til it hurt as well. He loved us to hell and back so that he could say, “This hurts me more than it hurts you.”
Because he loved ’til it hurt, we can love. “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19)..
Exploring the Word
1. Tell the story in your own words. Then read the account. Which details did you omit or mistakenly add?
Answers will vary. If studying in a group, split up into smaller groups and see how many different details are included in the exercise. Why do you think some details made every list and other details didn’t make any lists?
2. Why do you think this story is one of the most popular stories included in children’s Bibles?
Many children’s books end with, “Happily ever after.” The account of baby Moses is such a story. Perhaps it is a popular children’s story because it has a baby in the story.
3. Trace the many displays of God’s providence in this account.
Answers will vary. Examples include:
● The miracle of a healthy child being born.
● Moses’ mother being able to keep him safely hidden for three months.
● The basket being able to hold Moses safely.
● Moses being kept safe from the dangers of the Nile River.
● The princess finding him.
● The princess being willing to adopt Moses.
● The Pharaoh permitting a Hebrew baby to be raised in the palace.
● Moses’ mom being able to raise Moses as a maid.
4. List times when it has “hurt” to show love to someone.
Answers will vary. Examples include:
● Telling grown children they are living contrary to God’s will.
● Sacrificing your free time or money for the sake of someone else.
● Watching parents slowly die. It hurts to see them suffer because you love them so much.
● Seeing your children being picked on at school. Your love for them makes you hurt for and with them.
In every situation, God’s will is clear: love. We continue to love even when it tears our heart out. We love because God loves us.
Contributing editor Joel Heckendorf is pastor at Immanuel, Greenville, Wisconsin.
This is the ninth article in a ten-part series on the top ten stories included in children’s Bibles and how they apply to our lives today. Find answers online after Aug. 5.
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Author: Joel Heckendorf
Volume 103, Number 8
Issue: August 2016
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