thursday: october 18th
it seems that my heart hurts so often these days. i can no longer even count how many of my friends have had miscarriages (and several of them have had more than one). i don’t know what to say. how to respond. what to tell them that they don’t already know. my friends that are believers know the most often quoted passages: Romans 8:28, Jeremiah 29:11, Philippians 4:13…. the list goes on.
but tonight at my Precepts class, I wrote down a few quotes from Kay Arthur (who wrote the Precepts Bible studies), as I feel they are very pertinent to all of my dear friends suffering a loss that I cannot even comprehend at this time. so bear with me here, as I type out my thoughts (I’m still processing this, so hopefully it makes some sense).
To put everything in context, we’re studying the life of Joseph (Genesis 37 through 50, though we only did chapters 37, 38 and 39 this week and only two of those chapters are about Joseph) and before I share Kay’s quotes, I want to tell a bit about Joseph’s story (Kay’s quotes will have more meaning this way).
Joseph was the 11th son of Jacob, but the first son by Jacob’s favorite wife, Rachel. Joseph, therefore, was the favorite/favored son of Jacob. And because he was his father’s favorite, all of his brothers HATED him. Yes. The Bible really does say that they HATED him (Genesis 37: 4 and 8) to the point where they "could not speak to him on friendly terms." They hated him so much they couldn’t even talk with him. speak to him nicely. they couldn’t even PRETEND. that’s intense hatred. who else was hated by His own people? Jesus.
So we have Joseph who is hated by his 10 older brothers and his 1 younger brother (and his mom died giving birth to that younger brother, so he only has his dad who loves him – LIKES him, even). His brothers PLOT against him (Gen 37: 18) – they discussed KILLING him until the oldest brother, Reuben, convinced the other brothers to simply throw him into a pit. The story unfold that they decided not to kill him and not to leave him in the pit but instead to SELL HIM into SLAVERY (Gen 37: 27) and make some money.
A cross reference here is Genesis 42:21. This cross reference reveals more to us about how Joseph responded to his brothers selling him – "Then they said to one another, ‘Truly we are guilty concerning our brother, because we saw the distress of his soul when he pleaded with us, yet we would not listen…’" Joseph PLEADED with his brothers NOT to sell him. Not to do such evil to him. But they did it anyway.
So Joseph ended up as a slave in EGYPT (a whole ‘nother country!). But "the Lord was with him [Joseph]" – (Genesis 39:2, 3, 21, 23). More "bad" stuff happened to Joseph throughout chapter 39, but it tells us in the text that the Lord was with him. God knew what was going on. He ALLOWED the "bad things" to happen to Joseph. We don’t know if Joseph felt abandoned by God. He definitely did not know the final outcome of his own story, but God did.
And in tonight’s video lecture, Kay Arthur provided these words of encouragement to us:
"In the midst of pain, it is hard to remember that God is soverign."
"In the midst of pain, God is still there. He has not left His post [throne]."
"We can endure. We can make it. Because God is on His throne."
So tonight, my words to share with my friends who are grieving and mourning are not the verses that they have probably heard 100 times (or more) already. Instead, I tell YOU to remember the story of Joseph. This story reminds you that God is still there. He is still Soverign. He still loves you. He has NOT forgotten you.
"Even these may forget, but I will not forget you. Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands." Psalm 49:15b-16a
My prayers are will ALL of you, dear friends. I love you all so very much.