My daughter and I were watching her all-time favorite movie the other night; Disney’s animated Moses that came out in the late 90’s. Exodus, being one of my favorite Old Testament books, means I have read it several times and I noticed the movie took little creative license when representing what it must have been like for Moses to grow up with a brother whose kingdom, family, and position he would later destroy. There is one scene in particular where I empathized with every bit of pain featured perfectly on this drawing's face; Moses physically walks away from Ramses signifying his departure from all the opulence and ease he once knew for a decided entrance into a hidden identity he only loosely understands. Moses must have felt so unraveled by his ignorance. It was a life he never knew, yet faithfully stepped into his past to serve the God of his future.
What a trade.
Moses left it all. And in this difficult trade, he became the deliverer of the Deliver.
Though Moses could not deliver himself from his familial brokenness, he was worthy to deliver a nation. A plan put in place all along by His God. There must have been days where rejection left Moses questioning, yet he must have also seen the miracle, along with one-million others, of how easily God’s family plan put him face-time with a Pharaoh in his people's time of need. And, I wonder if his Jewish mother had any inkling of these plans as the raging Nile swept his basket away into the arms of another mother.
You see, Moses’ life captures me because his family life is nothing like I think it should be as an advocate of “strengthening families as the greatest prevention to child sex trafficking”. It is an example of everything I don’t stand for…yet, everything I understand. I too have to resist the propensity to be troubled by a deeply broken heart over mangled family relationships surrounding issues that feel as big as murdering a firstborn nephew, being abandoned by a mother, and never being seen as equal to a royal sibling.
I have come to learn from this beautiful Old Testament narrative that my family does not have to be perfectly intact for me to rescue another. Our ministerial work in the kingdom of God is not dependent on whether or not the people who should love and support us do. It didn't hamper Jesus.
For not even His brothers believed in Him.
John 7:5 CSB
We are not unqualified for our calling when relationships as close as family attempt to disqualify us. And while I still pray for and practice forgiveness over wrongdoings and misunderstandings that could paralyze anyone, I have learned we must move beyond hurting into the expectation that broken relationships will be a part of life this side of heaven - because the Gospel and its embodiment promise to bring division.
"I have a terrible baptism of suffering ahead of me, and I am under a heavy burden until it is accomplished. Do you think I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I have come to divide people against each other! From now on families will be split apart, three in favor of me, and two against—or two in favor and three against. ‘Father will be divided against son and son against father; mother against daughter and daughter against mother; and mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.’[a]”
While upholding the family unit is a very clear Biblical mandate, and restoration is God’s hallmark in that we are called to “live at peace as far as it depends on us”, we also see in Scripture that familial brokenness does not hinder and can even accomplish God’s overall plans. “Pharaoh's heart was hardened” by God for His purposes (0ne of the most scrutinized topics in Scripture and for another day) and Joseph’s brothers' jealousy.
For the believer out there today still praying faithful prayers over family dysfunction, wrestling with familial trials, clinging to forgiveness, or not pursuing righteousness because their family just wouldn't understand it, take heart. Stand up, brush your knees off, and take your place. Hold your staff firmly, let God speak through you as a mouthpiece, and face your Pharaohs. Fulfill the identity God put in you before you were born and don’t relent when “even family doesn’t believe in you”. You are not disqualified. In fact, you may be their unknowing deliverer.
For your good and His glory,