Moses Enters The Promised Land
He was not placed in a basket of reeds to float down the Nile River as an infant. He is not
waking up this morning in the bosom of the Pharaoh’s family. Instead, Moses is a six-year-
old orphan with a large smile who arrived in his Promised Land, carried on the wings of a
modern jet liner. He is awaking this morning somewhere in the Seattle area with a father
and mother and siblings that love him. A few months ago he had nothing. Today he is even
an uncle to a toddler.
His story is worthy of anything found in the Bible. There is nothing supernatural in it.
Then again, maybe there is. When something is meant to be, it is like God or fate moves
heaven and earth to open all the right doors. The most beautiful things in life always seem
like they were meant to be.
I had walked into that Nassau bar after almost a week at sea. They were there to pass a
few hours before they were to appear in court the next morning. Barrel chested in a red t-
shirt, his blonde hair in a short crew cut, to hide the graying and balding that comes with
more than five decades of spinning around the sun. She, in a black-and-white stripped
dress, was an attractive woman in her forties. Her brownish red hair was cut short in the
manner of a woman who had neither the time nor vanity to keep it long anymore. Four
children reorder a person’s priorities. The time and effort used to keep up long hair is
better invested in other places.
They became grandparents last year and had maybe a decade left of children in the house.
Like all good stories, theirs began in tragedy. Their twelve year old had suffered a football
injury, the kind of injury that rocks every parent to their core. A hit. Their child crumpled to
the ground. Yet, he got up and seemed okay.
Over the next few days, their son complained of a headache and then to lost his
equilibrium. A trip to the hospital. Long hours of waiting. CT scans, an MRI, and other tests.
The diagnose? Their son was leaking spinal fluid. Surgery was needed. The doctor was
surprised that the child came into the emergency room in as good as shape as he did. A sigh
of relief. The doctor then repeated, “Surgery is needed, NOW.”
Every parent’s nightmare. Their child could have died. A lumbar drain inserted until the
leaking area could fully heal. Confined to bed for weeks with instructions not to cough or
sneeze or doing anything a twelve-year-old boy wants to do.
So, dad made a simple offer. If his son did everything the doctor told him to do, they
would take a trip to the Bahamas and go to the water park at the Atlantis Hotel and Casino.
For those of you who have never heard of the Atlantis, it is a breathtaking resort, as if the
most opulent Las Vegas casino had been plopped down in the middle of the Caribbean,
complete with a 141-acre waterpark. There are slides, water rides, pools, beaches, rock
walls, and private cabanas, a children’s paradise. They sell it as a twenty million gallon
water adventure. There are also games, dolphins, sea life, theaters, and almost anything
else that could occupy a child for hours. It is the kind of vacation every child dreams of.
The child did everything he was supposed to do and followed every direction. So, along
with his siblings, the entire family made the pilgrimage to this place where every child’s
dream could come true. The first day was so much fun. Their son ran around like that heart
wrenching injury had never occurred. It was a time parents file in the back of their
memories as a good moment.
At the end of the day, just before dad went off to buy tickets for the next day, their son said
something strange. “Dad, I had a lot of fun today, but I was wondering if we could maybe
visit an orphanage tomorrow?” Like any good parent, dad replied, “Of course,” but didn’t
know where to find such a place, thinking that is where it would end.
Children have these things called smart phones and told dad the name and address of an
orphanage a taxicab ride away. The proudest moment for a parent might be when they
discover that their child’s heart is bigger than theirs. All the money that would have gone
towards tickets for the waterpark tomorrow instead went towards the purchase of toys for
kids they never met.
The people of the Bahamas do the best they can, but many of us cannot even begin to
fathom the poverty and hopelessness of the orphanages there. Thirty abandoned and
neglected children dressed in rags with nothing they can call their own in a small family
dwelling that if it was in your neighborhood you would probably call the health inspectors
to condemn. An overworked staff works without sufficient resources to do the best they
can as each child competes for what little drops of attention they can get. This is all in the
shadow of a resort where rich Americans and Europeans splash around in an artificial
paradise. It is truly eye opening. If you ain’t got anything, even someone to say I love you,
you ain’t going to have much of a future. If you have a future at all.
As they watched their kids play and run around with those children that day, both agreed
that it was probably a good thing for their kids, giving them a bit more perspective on the
world and all the blessings they have. Surprisingly, they seemed to have more fun than
they had the previous day at the waterpark. That night as they talked about the orphanage,
the wife remarked that one child stood out to her, that she felt a strange closeness to him, a
love, if you will. The husband agreed. Then they both said the same name, Moses.
Returning to Seattle, something strange happened, each one of their children approached
them, having not talked to the others. They wanted to talk about Moses, wondering if their
parents could do anything. Everyone in the family felt a strange attachment towards a six-
year-old boy they had never met before.
So, a few weeks later, mom and dad returned to the Bahamas and to that very orphanage.
That feeling was still there. They decided to adopt Moses. At an age where most people are
starting to think of their retirements, this couple was thinking about welcoming a new child
into their home.
Any doubts they had vanished in a moment. They would make sure to treat Moses as they
treated the other children in the home, no better, no worse. They didn’t want to raise his
hopes, because one never knows when an adoption process can go askew. For some
unknown reason, as they were about to leave, little Moses ran up to the wife. He had a
secret he wanted to tell her. With a hug that only a child can give to their parent, Moses
whispered in her ear, “You’re going to be my mommy.” He had felt it too.
To the parents, it felt like forty years in the wilderness as they battled to adopt little
Moses, the night I meet them. The next day, they were there to take Moses home, maybe to
the first home he could remember. A little boy dressed in rags. The next day he would have
more than he could have ever imagined.
That is how miracles work, isn’t it? At least that is how I hope they do.