Visual artist Gert Grube hopes his retelling of the drama about Moses can give courage and strength to Ukrainians who, like Moses, suffer from the abuse of a despot.
- Herewith the story, which I have dedicated to the Ukrainian people. I am deeply touched by their struggle for their country, families and freedom.
This is how an e-mail from Gert Grube begins. Since 1973 Gert Grube has been working with sculptures that illustrate the biblical figures or major life themes such as suffering, pain and love.
- I felt I had to do something and found one of my stories that could bring a consolation from faith and encouragement of a fighting spirit, he continues.
- There are strong parallels in my narrative and what is currently happening before our TV eyes. A despot who wants to subjugate the freedom of others.
- But there is also a strong hope in the story, even though there is fierce opposition, he ends the email and asks that the story be translated into English so that Ukrainians on the run and others can read it as well.
Here is the story that is a retelling of the drama from the Jewish Torah about the Egyptians' oppression of the Israelite people and the birth of Moses - Moses, who was later to free the Israelites from slavery.
A tale of faith and courage
In Egypt lived a faith-filled woman who had given birth to her third child, a lovely boy. She looked forward to seeing how life would take shape for him. Was there a future for the boy here at all? It all looked insecure because the country's current king was both brutal and ruthless. He had for many years exercised a reign of terror over his subjects. As a mother, she sensed the threatening clouds on the horizon, but what it was exactly, she could not really explain. The days of peace in this country seemed to be over.
It was morning again in the little house in the country of Gosen. Most people were already engaged in their daily duties. The boy's mother was also to start the day's chores. But suddenly she heard galloping horses not far away - a division of the king's faithful soldiers was hastily approaching the city. As they got closer, she could see on their facial expressions that something serious was going on. One of the soldiers shouted, "All boys under the age of two must be handed over to the king!"
Her frightened suspicions had come true! She was deeply shaken! Should she hand over her pride and joy? To such a bunch of bandits! She quickly hurried back to the house and found a good hiding place for the child. Every day she was nervous that someone was going to discover the boy. Yet she had a firmly rooted belief in her God, the creator of heaven and earth!
Therefore, she prayed, "Dear God, take care of this child, I now put his life in your hands." At once she got an idea! She wanted to make a basket of reeds and let the waters of the Nile save the child. God then had to protect him along the way, because the child belonged to God, and therefore God had to shape the boy's life in the future.
She would not tell anyone about her plans - not even her husband should know, if she could keep quiet - though it was God she had to trust in this matter. Determined and filled with an inner strength, she embarked on the curve. Her husband noticed that she was very preoccupied with something, but he was silent, for he had given her a certain free space which he did not enter. But the day came when curiosity took over.
"What are you doing?" he asked cautiously, "you work so eagerly, is there anything urgent?"
"Yes, I fear the king's soldiers! You know yourself what is happening here in Gosen. You must have discovered that the web is tightening around us. The king can no longer tolerate us Hebrews. I am in the process of making a basket for our youngest son because I have gained a belief that the basket can bring the boy to safety.”
"How?" asked the man eagerly.
“I will let the waters of the Nile lead our son into the harbor of salvation; almost like the ark in its day saved Noah and his family,” she replied even more convincingly than before.
"No, no, it does not work at all," the man interrupted, "are you not aware of the risk? A storm with heavy rain can fill the basket, and the child's grave will be among the other boy children - at the bottom of the river. The basket could also flow straight into the hands of the Egyptian elite soldiers walking along the riverbank to check for any escape options. You must not do that! It's too dangerous. It is actually to tempt God. ”
The mother searched for an answer, but her husband could feel that she was following a divine belief. She said a short prayer and answered so lovingly but firmly, “God will take care of the baby. The water will not be the downfall of the child, but its salvation. For God, all things are possible.” The latter was said as if it were a greeting from a completely different world.
The husband had to admit that his wife had both strength and courage. Her faith was rock solid, so he would not oppose this plan. He instead went and hugged her lovingly and said he just wanted to grab some tar so that at least she could seal the basket. She was grateful because it was both a proof of his love for her and at the same time his full acceptance of her decision.
At the door came Aaron, the boy's big brother. He had heard a little of the conversation, and the seriousness was written on his face.
“Mom,” he said, “the basket is not a real arc, it can be leaky, and then the water will penetrate and fill the basket so that it sinks with my little brother. I know this from the times I have made small reed boats down by the Nile. I have also heard that there are crocodiles in the upper reaches of the Nile, not far from here. No mother, you must not do that!”
The mother became silent, for how was she to explain to her big boy about God's marvelous ways?
“Aaron,” she said, “God created the waters of the Nile, therefore he can also lead the basket to a safe place. God always has a way out.” Aaron was reassured. It was mostly the mother's faith in God that did it, for he could not see the logic of her action.
The basket was now completely finished. The mother had carefully sealed it with tar and lined it with soft cloths, and the boy had received his last sip of milk. He was carefully laid in the basket, for now it should be. Determined, she took the basket with the child and went down to the banks of the Nile.
Unfortunately, she met the neighbor, who curiously asked, "What are you doing?"
"I want to save my boy, because the king has issued an order for all Jewish children to be exterminated. I want to save him by sending him off in the basket - out on the Nile. "
The sentence was barely finished before the neighbor's reproachfully shouted: “It's crazy! Do not know the dangers on the Nile? What is the boy's name anyway?”
The mother searched for the words, but it was the neighbor's remark that shaped her response: “No, it's not madness. It's trust! for that which by reason is madness, is by faith just trust. The child has not been given a name yet, but God will probably make sure of that.”
The steeled conviction of the mother made the neighbor wife keep quiet. There was a short pause, after which the mother hurried down to the bank. God's merciful love had filled her mind, and she knew she could only give God power by acting on the word that sounded in her mind.
Now she was standing there. Gently she placed the basket on the water and gave it a little push, sighing to God in her distress. She had acted out of her pain and was now hoping for help!
Suddenly she felt that there was an invisible hand that replaced hers and led the basket further out between the reeds by the banks of the Nile. Slowly, the basket moved down the river.
At first all hope seemed gone now, but then the miracle happened. The boy was rescued miraculously, in fact, by the king's own daughter, who later even paid the boy's mother to look after him for the first few years.
So the mother's faith was not put to shame.
And the princess also made sure to name the child: Moses.