So the people of Israel did just as the Lord had commanded through Moses and Aaron. And that night at midnight, the Lord struck down all the firstborn sons in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sat on his throne, to the firstborn son of the prisoner in the dungeon. Even the firstborn of their livestock were killed. Pharaoh and all his officials and all the people of Egypt woke up during the night, and loud wailing was heard throughout the land of Egypt. There was not a single house where someone had not died. Pharaoh sent for Moses and Aaron during the night. “Get out!” he ordered. “Leave my people—and take the rest of the Israelites with you! Go and worship the Lord as you have requested. Take your flocks and herds, as you said, and be gone. Go, but bless me as you leave.” All the Egyptians urged the people of Israel to get out of the land as quickly as possible, for they thought, “We will all die!”
Dear God, it was the mass loss of life and their children that finally broke the Egyptians and Pharaoh. They were willing to pay any price after that. Even Pharaoh was brought to his knees by it. It reminds me of an 80s song by Sting called “Russians” in which he has a line about the Russians loving their children too.
Sometimes I marvel at how special my two children are to me. When they were small and playing sports or performing on stage, they were all my eye wanted to follow. Often, I couldn’t have told you what else was happening. I just cared about them. I’ve held one while the projectile vomited on me. I’ve flown across the country to help one (actually, I’ve done that for each of them now that I think about it). I was there when both of them were born. They look a little like me and a little like my wife. If you were to look at a bell curve of the things my wife and I discuss, they would be in the center. They are the center of my wife’s and my daily prayer time. And even with all of that, we can feel so helpless. Kobe Bryant couldn’t save his daughter the other day and I know he would have given all he had if he could have. I couldn’t even stop bullies from picking on them when they were little. I remember holding one in my lap and crying together, but I couldn’t completely shield them. I tried, but I couldn’t.
Father, thank you for this rich, joyful, painful experience called parenthood. You have used it to mold me. You are still using it. The Egyptians loved their children. The Israelites who had to watch their children live and die in slavery (and some be thrown in the Nile) loved their children. The Russians and everyone else love their children. I even saw a baby lamb next to its mother for safety when I was on a bike ride last Sunday. She loved her child too. And of course, you love us as well–even more than I can fathom. Thank you.
In Jesus’s name I pray,