Like Sherry, you and I need to know that we will sometimes face choices for which the consequences cannot be fully predicted. Often this happens when we’re called upon to do something we know is right but we feel uncertain about where that choice will lead. A great question to ask at these moments is “When is it right to do right?” Of course, the answer is “always.”

When we face such choices, we have to guard against letting fear dominate our thinking. The unknown is a scary place, but we all have to go there when we are called upon to make good decisions without guarantees. That is one of the reasons we see the phrase “be strong and courageous” so often in Scripture (Deut. 31:6–7; Josh. 1:6–7, 9; 10:25; 1 Chron. 22:13; Ps. 31:24). Knowing God and believing that “where He guides, He provides”5 is the key to strength and courage. Even though we cannot always see the consequences that await us, we have a God who not only lives in our present but also dwells in our future. If you know God, really know Him on a personal basis, you can do what you know is right, confident that He has your back, your front, and both sides covered. The consequences are in His hands, and you are safe with Him. Your task is to choose the path you know is right, refuse to look back in worry, and remind yourself to be like the psalmist who said, “My eyes are always on the LORD” (Ps. 25:15).

The story of Jochebed, mother of Moses, presents a powerful example of a woman making the best choice she can under seemingly impossible circumstances and with no guarantee of the results. Let’s take a look at her situation:

Then Pharaoh gave this order to all his people: “Every boy that is born you must throw into the Nile, but let every girl live.”

Now a man of the house of Levi married a Levite woman, and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. (Exod. 1:22–2:2 NIV)

Try to put yourself in this woman’s sandals. What would you do, given her two options? Either you could throw your baby in the Nile to face certain death, or you could do what little you could to save your child and leave the rest of the story with God. Let’s see what Jochebed chose.

When she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him for three months. But when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile. His sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him.

Then Pharaoh’s daughter went down to the Nile to bathe, and her attendants were walking along the river bank. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her slave girl to get it. She opened it and saw the baby. He was crying, and she felt sorry for him. “This is one of the Hebrew babies,” she said.

Then his sister asked Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?”

“Yes, go,” she answered. And the girl went and got the baby’s mother. Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this baby and baby and nursed him. When the child grew older, she took him to Pharaoh’s daughter and he became her son. She named him Moses, saying, “I drew him out of the water.” (Exod. 2:2–10 NIV)

This story always touches a tender place in my heart. I have nothing but respect for this woman of great courage. Like any of us, she would have preferred to raise her own son to adulthood, but she was forced to make a choice without guarantees. She had no idea of the consequences, but she knew putting her baby in the Nile to drown was not a choice she could make. So she did what she could by making him that little waterproof basket, and then she did what she had to by releasing him into the Nile and into God’s hands. Jochebed gets my vote for being a superior Smart Girl.