Monday, September 14, 2009

Who's Behind Our Now?

Wanted to share a little write-up by my Sunday School teacher, Heinrich Dubose-Schmidt, after he listened to a forty-five minute R.C. Sproul commentary on the life of Joseph (Old Testament). I'll add just a few thoughts at the end. Here's what he wrote:

Remember when Joseph had suffered for 13 years but had later been made the Prime Minister of all Egypt? His brothers come to Egypt looking for food during the 7 year famine, but they don't recognize Joseph at all although he recognizes them. As part of a test to see if they've changed, Joseph accuses them of being spies and says they must prove themselves by leaving one of their own (Simeon) until they can bring back their youngest brother still at home (Benjamin).

They return home without their brother, and tell their father Jacob (also known as Israel) all that had transpired. The brothers also discover that all their silver to pay for the food is in their sacks, and they are all frightened. Remember -- Jacob thinks his youngest, most-favored son, Joseph, is dead, and now he's given news that one of his older sons is hostage in Egypt and the Prime Minister is demanding to see his youngest Benjamin. In Genesis 42:36, Jacob utters these words: "You have deprived me of my children. Joseph is no more and Simeon is no more, and now you want to take Benjamin. Everything is against me!" (NIV)

As you read those words, I hope Jacob's despair and anguish came through. From his perspective, the whole world is against him; even as a believer, he was filled with despair at the circumstances of life. But, think about the reality for a moment -- Simeon is probably safer now than he's ever been in his life under the care of the Prime Minister (Joseph his brother). Joseph is not "no more" but is alive! In fact, he is working to preserve Jacob's entire family. Benjamin will be safe in Egypt, and while things seem bleak, everything is working out for Jacob.

So what does this mean for us? It doesn't mean that all of our tough times will have a rosy ending. It does mean that we should trust in our God who sovereignly and purposefully works all things to His glory and works all things for our good. The path we're on right now may seem dark and bleak, but God is working in and through and around us. We must trust in His fatherly care.

-------

At least a few times in my life, I have railed to God about circumstances that have afflicted me -- situations that have come about by chance, personal decisions, personal wrong-doing, or others' wrong-doing. Certainly, I can identify with Jacob in this story when he cries, "Everything is against me!" While sometimes I realize that I only have myself to blame, at other times all I can see is a vast inequity of how random, or sometimes calculated, circumstances have stacked against me. As these life events unwind, I usually do find myself going to God, but do I really ever think, behind the scenes, the Lord is working life out for my benefit? For my good? Hardly ever. And it's hard. Very hard to think this way when life appears bleakest.

Nonetheless, a story like this one encourages me to rethink my own attitudes, and not only my attitude about life but my attitude toward God. Because I'm human, I see the surface but don't see in 3-D, figuratively speaking. God is sovereign, and He does. He Is. I can't figure out the Almighty, and really He's God, and it just is that way. However, I know Him enough through Jesus, my Good Shepherd, to know He loves me. At the same time, He loves me enough not to give me everything I want. Heinrich's last paragraph sums it up. Not all our endings will end up rosy. Our job, my job and my attitude, has to be to trust God anyway, through anything and everything.

No matter what's happening now, Someone's behind it.

1 comment:

DugALug said...

Rich,

Check out The Traveler's Gift by Andy Andrews. You will appreciate it.

God Bless
Doug