4 – Mary and the Flight to Egypt – Mary most obedient
Have you ever had something happen to you that set your adrenaline soaring? Years ago a friend and I decided to go camping with a pop-up trailer. We borrowed it from a friend who didn’t use it much and he helped us to hitch it up. We felt very safe in our venture. Traveling along with our young sons in the back seat we felt the world was our oyster! Storms came one afternoon as we were searching for the campground and skies were dark. We finally found it as darkness came upon us and the rain was very close. We pulled into what we thought was a spot and just left the camper hitched up – much like we did the previous nights. We barely got set up before the rain and wind unleashed and howled through the night. We felt like we might have become airborne if not for the car connected to it. In the morning, however, we saw an entirely different picture.
Joseph must have had his adrenaline soaring as well after the dream to leave Bethlehem. He would have to wake Mary who was still tired from giving birth and the long journey from Nazareth. I imagine she just wanted to find a clean place to rest awhile. The Magi had visited and so they stayed right in the cave. Now the dream told him to leave under the cover of darkness. What would Mary say? She had to be aware that Joseph had a dream before that was from God and this would not be something other than from God. She also had to understand he didn’t want any hardship for her and Jesus, so she was most obedient. She would have gathered their few things and made haste. How would she see it in the morning?
The sun was out when we woke after the stormy night. As I stepped out of the trailer it looked like we were on an island. There was water everywhere but our little spot. As I walked around to the car, I took in a sharp breath. We had pulled right next to a ravine that went down very steeply! It was a miracle we did not go down it when we were parking in the night. Very thankful, we had breakfast and closed up camp to hit the road again. At our next location we decided to unhitch the car so we could park and then go out again without disrupting camp.
Life would have been another cross in Egypt. Mary and Joseph would have faced not knowing the language, the landscape, little money nor a job. Joseph’s lead, Jesus’ obedience and Mary’s docility brought them through a difficult time. It began with Joseph’s trusting in the Father’s direction to stay in Egypt until it was safe. He didn’t know if it would be months or years. He knew though that God would lead them when it was time to go again. That kind of trust is not the easiest to keep in place when trials and sufferings come along. To know God is walking with you – as Mary did – takes true surrender.
We came upon our last day of the camping trip and packed up. Securing the camper to the car was a little nerve wracking, as several days had gone by and I didn’t quite remember how it was to be hitched up. My friend and I did what we thought was correct and it looked right, so off we went. However, it wasn’t long when I realized it just didn’t feel the same in pulling it. There was a lag or something that felt like it was there, but not really. The moment we knew it was wrong came without a doubt. We had pulled into a park and there were speed bumps along the driveway. The first bump we went over, the camper went up and off the hitch and down to the ground. Scraping and a big bam as it hit the ground was heard. Had that happened in traffic, or on a hill, it could have been a huge accident that would have affected others and not just us. Dumbfounded – adrenaline spiking, we jumped out of the car to see the damage. The hitch just laid on the ground, chains still connected to the car. But how would we now get it back on the car? This was a heavy trailer! After sitting for awhile pondering how to get the trailer picked up and back on the car, a pickup truck with two men came down the lane. They stopped, looked, smiled and offered us help. Quickly they picked up the trailer hitch like it was a feather and connected it properly. We thanked them profusely and both of us were on our way. Phew. We were glad to be heading home after that adventure.
My friend likes to remind me from time to time of this incident and what she remembered – that when it occurred I bolted out of the car and said “I got this, don’t worry, I got this.” But I didn’t. There was no way I was going to be able to fix it. I had to surrender my inability to change the situation – to accept help from another – and be grateful. Mary did too. Walking to Egypt had to remind her of walking to see Elizabeth, then Bethlehem and now to Egypt. Each time she received more from God about her son and each time she had to trust, surrender and be obedient. My camping adventure isn’t quite the same – but I think you get the picture. The next time your adrenaline soars with a change or situation, pause. God will be there to help you or he will send someone. Be open, docile and obedient and walk in humility if need be. Crosses come and go but we will never be without one if we are to truly follow Mary and her son.
Photo credits: Public domain and owned