Their youngest son went for a walk one day and never came back. The only trace of him that was found was a piece of clothing belonging to the boy—smeared with blood.
Can you imagine a harder place? The boy’s parents had no clue as to what had happened to their child, but the bloody coat suggested violence. Yet a body was never found, nor was a perpetrator of the crime ever suspected, accused, or punished. They spent many years grieving and wondering.
And I’m sure the father, especially, had many questions for God. His life up to that point had been anything but peaceful. He knew God’s promises, but his life’s path had been through many deep valleys. Why had God allowed this to happen now? Had he not already suffered enough? This tragedy was too much to bear. It was such a staggering blow that he lived in constant and deep mourning.
I wept when I read the end of the story. I had read and heard it many times before. Because this is the story of Joseph and his father, Jacob. Yet this time, reading it through, it touched me like it never had before. Could you imagine a harder place for a parent to be? Can you imagine the prayers, the tears, the questions, the sadness?
But as I read the end of the story, I wept not in sadness, but in relief and thankfulness.
Many, many years later we see that God has had a hand in Joseph’s life all along—and in Jacob’s. In Jacob’s old age, his entire family is in peril of death, and Joseph—the child Jacob has spent decades mourning—is alive and in a position of power to save them all.
But oh! the hard places Jacob had to walk through! And yet at the end of the story, we hear Joseph saying, “God has gone ahead of all of us, setting the stage so that I can save us all.” And God Himself comes to the old man Jacob and says, “Don’t be afraid. I will go with you to Egypt and I will bring you back again.”
There are so many Scriptures that tell us that God holds the lives of His children. He not only walks through everything with us, He goes before us. He has a purpose and a plan. He holds our times in His hands. So many Scriptures! You probably have your favorites. Hold on to them in the hard times!
I just want to pull out two today that always speak peace to me. They are taken from two very different contexts. One is written to people who are in the middle of terrible suffering. The other addresses people on the verge of a wonderful new life.
…trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you. (1 Peter 4:19)
For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land of flowing streams and pools of water…a land where food is plentiful and nothing is lacking. (Deuteronomy 8:7, 9)
In the good times and the very hard times, our lives are safe in His hands and He is bringing us to the place He promised us.
Praise the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!
p.s. Will you share your favorite promises in the Comments section?
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Thanks for the encouragement it will bring to all of us.