This reflection by Mason Brown of the U.S. placed first in our August writing contest. Contest participants were invited to respond to this prompt in 400 words or less: “What Scripture passage has gained special meaning for you during the global pandemic?” Thirty-six writers from 18 nations in the English contest submitted entries.
Contest judge Dr. Miriam Adeney, an anthropologist, author and professor of global Christianity, described Mason’s award-winning submission, “Pity Party” on Exodus 3:14-15, as “personal and self-disclosing—inviting the reader to identify and to feel…while adding new biblical/theological information in the Hebrew terminology.” Adeney also noted, “The addition of simple poetry form adds to the stylistic richness.”
By Mason Brown
I am frightened.
I am vulnerable.
I am medically fragile.
I am a septuagenarian.
I am alone.
My Bible study early in the midst of the shelter-in-place order brought me out of this pity-party.
Toward the end of March, I was reading the account of God calling Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt.
- “God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’
- God also said to Moses, ‘Say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’
This is my name forever,
The name you shall call me
from generation to generation.” Exodus 3:14-15 NIV
One of the benefits of this pandemic, at least for me, was having extra time to dig deeper into the context of the scriptures. When I looked at the Hebrew translation of Exodus 3:14-15, “Ehyeh asher ehyeh,” (I AM WHO I AM) used a form of the verb hayah, to be. The Hebrew translation was more accurately I WILL BE WHO I WILL BE.
Now I understand the Bible translators could not translate every Bible passage into every possible grammatical tense. They had to choose just one. I would not fault them. But as I contemplated this Hebrew translation, I became more aware of God’s omnipotence.
It seemed to me God was saying to the Israelites, I will be whoever you need me to be: The God who hardens Pharaoh’s heart in Egypt, parts the Red Sea, provides manna in the desert, brings forth water from a rock, disciplines you when you forget my commandments, goes before you in battle, keeps your sandals from wearing thin…from generation to generation.
I reread the scripture inserting the words, I WILL BE WHO I WILL BE. I knew God would be whoever I needed him to be throughout this pandemic. His promises are as true in my generation as they were in the days of Moses.
I am unafraid.
Mason Brown is an author and storyteller. She has contributed to numerous anthologies. She frequently can be found in Central America serving on a medical mission team. She lives in the Pacific Northwest of the U.S., travels whenever possible and collects water from around the world. www.masonkbrown.com.
>>Read the runner-up in our August writing contest, “Where One Can Learn Submission,” by Ruzelle Tan of the Philippines.
Write to Win! Enter our three remaining writing contests. Respond to each writing prompt in English or Spanish, in 400 words or less, and enter to win $50 USD. Check out the contest guidelines.
Top photo by Ian Dooley on Unsplash