“Ben, wake up! It’s alright you are dreaming. Come, wake up!”
“Huh? Asa what are you doing here?”
“I was walking by your tent and I heard you crying so I came in and found you sleeping. You were saying something about your dead son. I didn’t even know you were married!”
“Oy vey smeer! Where was I, let me think.” Ben was pensive, trying hard to go back rather than further into the reality of the moment. “I was back in Egypt on Passover night. Do you remember that night Asa? I felt the agony of those mothers and even Pharaoh when all the first-born sons of Egypt died. It was horrible Asa, a real nightmare, the death of innocent sons, even the son of Pharaoh, set us free.”
Giving up his effort to return to his dream Ben asked, “Asa, why did those innocent children have to die before Pharaoh let us go? Why did He harden Pharaoh’s heart? Wouldn’t it have been easier and nicer to soften Pharaoh’s heart so he would want to release us?”
“Ben, let’s think about it. For God to send us on our way to the Promise Land, of milk and honey and freedom, and even eternal life He had to work on two fronts: them and us! If it hadn’t been for the genocide of the sons would we all have been willing to so radically change our cushy lives and shlep for so long? After all, even a life of sin and slavery can get comfortably routine. But who could stay and face those Egyptian mothers? [And who can pass-up the offer of an indwelling Holy Spirit of God, peace, love, and immortality.] We were set up. No turning back for the wise. Who really wants slavery and sin if there is an alternative? We were shaken out of our old mindsets. I heard Moshua say that if you love God the kind of death that the sons experienced is only temporary. Temporary death is not the really scary kind anyway.”
“We have a mysterious God, don’t we Asa?”
Simultaneously sensing that God was listening to them Ben and Asa addressed the Lord with these words:
“Mighty God, we see your brilliance and stand amazed. You hold life in the palm of your hands and sprinkled it over the earth. You are a good father, sometimes stern and demanding, but merciful, and tolerant, and patient. Thank you.
There is no battle that we can lose when you reach out your muscular arm to help us. Our enemies are as ants before you. And yet when it appears that we are losing, it is only that a greater good will come to those who serve and worship You, our magnificent Lord.”
We see that You have set before us life and death. If life is nearness to you and death is separation then Ben and I [Asa and I] choose life! Receive us; please caste us not away from Your presence o Lord, take not your Holy Spirit from us, that we may follow You and serve You all the days of our lives, and into eternity to be kept in Your safety and peace.”
The soul-brothers closed their eyes. A warm sensation like a sacred hug came over them. More than ever, Ben and Asa looked forward to reaching the Promise Land where it was said that they would see the face of God, hear His voice and receive the physical arm clenching God-hug that both Ben and Asa longed for. With renewed vigor and unity they readied themselves for the day’s march.