And he was there in the prison. But the Lord was with Joseph … Genesis 39:20-21
There is nothing we would like to avoid more if we could than a crisis. But what if we could?
Imagine that you had a child, and when that child enters the world, for the first five minutes of that child’s existence, you are given a script of what will be that child’s entire life. And you get an eraser, and you can edit it. You can take out whatever you want to take out of your child’s life.
The script says that your child will have a learning disability in grade school, that reading, which comes easily for some kids, will be laborious for yours. Then, when your child gets to high school, the script says that he will make a great circle of friends, but one of those friends will die of cancer.
Then, after high school, they will get into a college that they wanted to attend, but while there, they will be in a car crash and lose a leg and go through a hard depression. A few years later, they will get a great job, and then they will lose that job in an economic downturn.
Then a little while after that, they will get married, but then they go through the grief of a separation.
So, you get this script for your child’s life, and you have five minutes to edit it the very first day. What would you erase? Wouldn’t you want to take out all the stuff that would cause him pain and grief and hardship?
Is it possible that in some ways, people can grow from, maybe somehow even need, adversity, setbacks, difficulties, heartache, to reach the fullest level of humanity, and development?
Did you hear about the man whose wife ran off and left him? Not long after that he had to file for bankruptcy. Then in a freak accident, his house burned down. Two days later, he was walking across street, got hit by car; as he laid there in the street, he cried out to heaven, “God, why me?”
A voice echoed from the heavens that said, “Sam, there’s something about you that just ticks me off.”
That’s a funny story, but it’s not true. We live in a fallen world. And that means there is going to be suffering.
It is interesting that from chapter 42 through 50 in the book of Genesis the Scriptures record no less than six instances of Joseph weeping. Sometimes weeping so loudly that his friends wondered about his sanity.
In the last chapter in Genesis, his father is on his deathbed, “Joseph threw himself upon his father and wept over him.”
He is the biggest crybaby in the Bible!
I think if Joseph’s father could have had a script of Joseph’s life and erased all his tears ahead of time so that Joseph could have experienced nothing but sunshine and prosperity and applause and all his dreams coming true.
It is an amazing thing about Jesus, do you remember what the shortest verse in the Bible is? It’s found in John 11:35 where it says, “Jesus wept.” His friend Lazarus had died. In Jesus, we have a God who cries.
I don’t know of any other system of thinking about God that tells us that in Jesus, God cried.
When a person weeps, it is a very intimate thing to wipe the tears off their face. You only do that for somebody that you are very close to, usually a parent with a little child—it is intimate. It is very tender.
“Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. Revelation 21:3-4
In Jesus, God cries with you. In Jesus, our hope is that one day God will set this world to rights. Now imagine that day, you come before God with all the hurt in your heart, and with all the gentleness and compassion in the universe, the God who made everything, looks at you, and wipes the tears from your eyes.
No more crying now. That is our script. That is our God.