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Daily Bible Reading

Now that I have officially graduated, I’ve returned to my normal practice of reading the Bible through each year. I’ve kept up very well in the past two months – which is amazing given how unfocused I have been at the other items on my to do list.

I have been excited about this year’s Bible read through.  I chose an edition that is organized chronologically, which is one of my favorite reading plans.  But more importantly, I have been given eyes to finally see things other than issues of parenting, pregnancy and birth.  I know it sounds weird, but before starting nursing school I had at least three years where nearly every day my reading revolved around pregnancy.  I have lots of notes from my journals I kept during those readings, but posting what I learned is not even on that to do list I don’t stay focused on.  I’m afraid you’ll have to wait for that.

So what eyes am I using to read?  The eyes that see power and politics behind the stories.  This has completely changed so much of what I assumed about the Bible.  I can give an example, but I don’t think I’ll do it much justice.  I’ll try anyway.

Remember the Exodus?  I’ve always sort of glazed over the surface of the story – Moses is a true believer of God and God hardened Pharoah’s heart.  But this time, I saw things differently.

  • I saw that it wasn’t just the Israelites who became servants of Pharaoh;  that due to Joseph’s wisdom the entire kingdom of Egypt and some surrounding areas had to basically sell themselves as servants to get food. Though the Israelite family had traveled to Egypt before during a famine, this time they felt they couldn’t leave when the famine was over – Joseph himself asked to have his bones removed in the future when they could finally leave.
  • I saw that Moses asked God who he should say is sending him, and for the first time I didn’t read it as “Hey God tell my your name” but rather, “So, which god are you that is sending me?”
  • I saw that Pharaoh’s fear of the Hebrew people was that they would turn against Egypt if another nation were  to attack.  Letting the people go was not merely the loss of a big chunk of the workforce and a devastation to the economy, but probably sounded suspiciously like a conspiracy.

I could go on, but my main point is that things that seemed so unreasonable before (like Pharaoh not allowing them to go to worship in the desert) suddenly seemed very logical.

It got me thinking about my own life, and the decisions I make.  Everyone believes they make good decisions.  Sometimes we come back and admit we were wrong, but really we all think we are making the best decision at the time – that is why we make that decision.  Pharaoh’s decision was perfectly logical given the circumstances.  But when I view it through the eyes of the Bible (from God’s point of view), Pharaoh’s decision was wrong, and rather than protecting his country it caused just as much devastation as Pharaoh was trying to prevent.

And really, it is easy for me to think Pharaoh’s decision would have been different if he had followed God.  But then I wonder if that reflects my experience.  Do I go against the logical decisions I make because God leads me to do something completely illogical?  Or do I stick a “God” stamp of approval on my logical decisions.

I think it’s time to update the birth planning materials to ensure there is plenty of room to follow God’s lead, even when it doesn’t make sense.

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Jennifer Vanderlaan CNM MPH is the author of the BirthingNaturally.net website. She has been working with expectant families since 2000, training doulas and childbirth educators, and midwives. She has worked with midwives in Central America and Sub-Saharan Africa. Her interest in public health grew in 2010, and she is now a PhD student in a nursing program learning to become a producer of knowledge.

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