Moses and Aaron were brought back to Pharaoh. “All right,” he told them, “go and worship the Lord your God. But who exactly will be going with you?” Moses replied, “We will all go—young and old, our sons and daughters, and our flocks and herds…” Pharaoh retorted, “The Lord will certainly need to be with you if I let you take your little ones! I can see through your evil plan. Never! Only the men may go.” —Exodus 10:8-11, NLT
In the life of those who contemplate migration, the question always resounds: “Exactly who will go?” Our enemy always says, “Only the men should go” or “let the mother go alone.” This results in a broken family, or at the least, a divided one.
The same story gets repeated over and over. The father or mother who migrates finds work, sends remittances to the family, suffers loneliness, seeks consolation in a new partner, forms a new family, etc. The original children grow up without the guidance of their father or mother, and they resent the absence and suffer a poverty that no remittance can alleviate.
In Egypt, neither Moses nor Pharaoh had any serious interest in the idea of sending only the men outside of the country. Moses said, “We will all go.” Pharaoh supposed that Moses and the men of Israel would not go without their families, so he insisted that only the men could go.
The context of that situation long ago surely differs from that of many people today that contemplate immigration without their families to seek their sustenance abroad. Nevertheless, the answer Moses gave Pharaoh serves almost all contexts. You do best not to go without your family. The money you make will never heal the wound that you will inflict in leaving your family behind. Either you all go, or nobody goes. Only a cruel enemy like Pharaoh would give you any other counsel.
You may protest, “But we are desperate!” Precisely for that reason you should think twice. The LORD never has rewarded doubt or despair. The LORD responds to faith and faithfulness. Trust in the LORD and keep your family together. As Hebrews 11:6 says, “it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.” (NLT). Leaving your country in itself requires a lot of faith. You do best to use that faith to include your whole family in any migration plan.
Dr. Joseph Castleberry is President of Northwest University in Kirkland Washington. He is the author of Your Deepest Dream: Discovering God’s Vision for Your Life and The Kingdom Net: Learning to Network Like Jesus. Follow him on Twitter at @DrCastleberry and at http://www.facebook.com/Joseph.Castleberry.