Imagine a bridge between two mountain tops. Not an ordinary bridge, but one made of ropes and planks, one that swings precariously in the wind, one whose gaps are as wide as its footing. And you have started walking across the bridge – perhaps because it was the only path in front of you, or perhaps it was the path to where you had planned to go. Halfway across, you get scared. You realize the risks. You doubt your strength to go forward. You freeze midway between the two mountaintops and weigh your options, a vacuum all around you. So you decide to go back, to retrace your steps and forget about reaching the other side. But when you turn around to backtrack to safety, you see that the planks on the bridge have blown away from the ropes, and that what is left of the bridge is enveloped in misty clouds, making a return impossible. And so there you stand. Behind you a fading memory, below you an abyss, before you a painful trek through fear, doubt and exertion to a place whose promise is illusive. And you have no choice but to go forward, one step at a time, to the unknown.
I’ve been there. Perhaps you have too. It’s a scary, lonely place to be.
Nothing will get you to the other side except a little faith. It is faith that led me forward – faith that God could see me, faith that He knew my predicament, and faith that if He allowed me to stand in that midway place, that it was where I was supposed to be.
The story of Moses held my attention through my struggle to the other side. After hearing God’s voice near the burning bush and discussing the task to address the Pharaoh, Moses was told:
And we had already conferred favor upon you another time when We inspired to your mother what We inspired, saying, “Cast him into the chest and cast it into the river, and the river will throw it onto the bank; there will take him an enemy to Me and an enemy to him.” And I bestowed upon you love from Me that you would be brought up under My eye [and care].
[And We favored you] when your sister went and said, “Shall I direct you to someone who will be responsible for him?” So We restored you to your mother that she might be content and not grieve. And you killed someone, but We saved you from retaliation and tried you with a [severe] trial. And you remained some years among the people of Madyan. Then you came [here] at the decreed time, O Moses. (Quran 20: 37-40)
The favors to Moses were many, and God recounts some of them: being saved from Pharaoh’s slaughter by being cast into a river – only to be adopted by the Pharaoh himself – and being raised in Pharaoh’s household, yet having access to his mother and his people…. he was torn between two peoples, two cultures, two classes, two families. Other favors: being spared reprisal for a crime committed, finding refuge among yet another people in a different land – Madyan. And finally, the words that resounded again and again in my soul:
Then you came here at the decreed time, O Moses.
An ordinary day wandering in the desert of Sinai and all the weird and unusual events that led him to that fateful conversation with God Himself were highlighted for Moses as God’s decree, blessing and selective care.
With a little introspection I retraced the steps that led me to the middle of the bridge where I could no longer see past or future, where I almost gave up if not for the faith that called me forward. I gradually began to see the Divine Care in my life, and when I opened my heart to His continual presence, I could feel great love and direction from none less than God Almighty. I could feel Moses’ wonder at how God had groomed him, acknowledged his struggles and anticipated his arrival, and his realization of God’s caring, nurturing, protective guidance. All the events of Moses’ life prepared him for that moment with God and the great task assigned to him. With faith he honored God’s command. With faith he walked forward, one step at a time.
And with faith, I was able to cross the bridge that finally led me to solid ground and peace of mind.