"I shall go down to Sheol to my son, mourning..All this has come against me” (Genesis 37:35, 42:36).
The pain was immense.
No man should’ve ever had to endure it. The brokenness in his family was terrible.
Jacob (Israel) had 12 sons. His favored son, Joseph, was sold into slavery by his own brothers. They, in turn, faked his death to Jacob. Years ticked by. Jacob believed his son was dead. He refused to be comforted. He expected to mourn until he went to death.
Years later, Pharaoh’s right hand man asked to see his youngest son, Benjamin. The thought of losing another son crushed Jacob. “All this has come against me,” was his confident summary after this request.
Yet, behind it all, God was doing his finest work.
The tragedy had been caused by favoritism and jealousy, rooted in pride. Man had done this. But God was at work in man’s ugly mess.
Only later would Jacob discover that Pharaoh’s assistant was actually his son, Joseph. They were reunited. God had sent Joseph ahead of his family into Egypt, securing a good future for them. What was meant for evil, God used for good. Jacob didn’t see this — how could he? — and his mood reflected his lack of vision.
Perhaps God is at work in an ugly situation in your life.
Behind it all, in a realm you cannot see, He may be doing His finest work.
As for me, I want to have eyes of faith. Though I cannot see how it all works, I believe, knowing my God is able to take the ugliest of what man produces and use it for His good purposes. When I see division in the body of Christ, I trust He is working against that backdrop of jealousy and pride. When I see heartache and unanswered prayers, I trust He is unfolding something powerful and strong. When I cannot understand, I must know that "...For those who love God all things work together for good" (Romans 8:28). He is at work in ways I could never comprehend.
If I believe this as I pass through the pain, my mood is altered. Rather than stand in Jacob’s conviction — “all this is has come against me” — I can stand in Christ’s conviction — “My Father is working until now…” (John 5:17). Faith, Oh Lord, help me have faith.