I think of her from time to time.
She was born into slavery in year 257 of the 400 year Egyptian captivity. Her parents worshiped the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph, and from her birth they told her the stories of their people.
She was a delightful child, with thick, black, untamed curls and lively brown eyes that crinkled into crescent moons when she laughed.
She laughed often.
She sang before she could talk and danced almost as soon as she walked. And she loved the sacred stories — loved to hear about Abraham, how he left his home and followed God into marvelous promises, and she dreamed of a land flowing with milk and honey even as she tried again and again to count the stars.
Every morning she woke to music playing in her head — a wordless song so layered and beautiful it made her soul ache, and with her first waking thoughts, she praised Elohim. Words erupted of themselves. Her parents heard her singing, and a bit of their burden rose with the sun. They heard and they whispered their Amen, and they thanked God for this laughing, dancing gift. They thanked Him for adorning their pain with praise. They thanked Him, and their faith rose, and they prayed for an end to their suffering. They cried out to El Shaddai for deliverance. The God who provided a lamb for Abraham, who appeared to their father Jacob at Bethel, who delivered Joseph from prison and exalted him as ruler over Egypt — surely this God could save them from captivity.
Ah, but perhaps it was too late for them. Long years of labor had broken their bodies. But what of this daughter, with her gifts of music, her winsome ways, her love for God and her sweet obedience? How could such a beautiful soul belong to slavery? How could this be God’s plan for her?
They prayed, and they pleaded, but she was born in year 257 of 400. Her future had been written, and would not be changed. Before deliverance, evil would increase. A time would come when another beautiful Hebrew child would be born, and his faithful mother would be unwilling to obey Pharaoh’s decree and cast him into the Nile. Every day ordained for this future child was known to God now, and no amount of praying or pleading would alter a plan formed with perfect faithfulness before the foundation of the world.
Her parents asked and she joined them in asking that the Messiah would come and rescue His people. They asked, and they worshiped, and they sang the songs He gave in the night. They waited with unwavering faith. Even if He chose to slay them, they would trust, but they would never give up asking.
And God would answer, but not in their lifetime. They would never see the promised land. They would live their whole lives in captivity, serving a harsh, oppressive Pharaoh who had no regard for their God. They would live and die in Egypt, and in centuries to come, no one would remember their names.
I think of her from time to time, this faith-full one, nameless but known, oppressed but held, slave but free, poor but so very, very rich. I think of her simple communion with God and His delight in her — the songs He gave that she might sing them back to Him, and the way that music must have sounded as it passed into the heavens, blending with all creation’s symphony. I imagine her now, worshiping unhindered, in the presence of her God, where everything makes sense, and all the evil that man or devil intended has been redeemed.
Was God cruel to sentence her to a life of captivity? Was she merely a cog in a cosmic wheel? Expendable?
Far from it. Yes, it’s true that she was boxed in by sovereign decree, with no hope for earthly deliverance, but the gloriously wild hairs on her charming little head were all numbered by her God, and all her days lovingly written in His book before she took her first breath.
She was an object of favor. Pharaoh’s greatest achievements brought God no pleasure, but the simplest of her songs rose before His throne, and the angels heard and marveled.
I think of her from time to time, when I feel tired and small and insignificant.
I think of her, and she whispers her song, and all the dust and noise and heat and sweat — all this striving to build a kingdom that is destined only to crumble — it loses its enslaving power. The grinding machinery and the shouting of taskmasters fades, and all that remains is music.
This song reminds me I am known, held, free, and very, very rich.
I hear, and I marvel.
And even in my captivity, I laugh.