Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Hard, Cold Facts

There were no C.S.I. forensic experts available at the time when the bare, hard, cold facts were laid before Jacob. His son Joseph, to all appearances, was dead. Did not Joseph’s own brothers retrieve his coat of many colours, now covered in blood and torn to shreds? Jacob looked at the evidence and exclaimed, “It is my son’s coat; an evil beast has devoured him; surely Joseph has been torn to pieces!” The brothers knew the truth about Joseph. In their jealousy of and hatred for him, they had sold Joseph as a slave to a band of traveling Ishmaelites and covered up their crime with lies. Joseph was not dead at all, but his brothers chose to dig a deeper grave for themselves by trying to support and comfort their grieving father:
“All his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him; but he (Jacob) refused to be comforted; and he said, For I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning. Thus his father wept for him.”

What has any of this to do with us in our day to day living, in our personal God journey? Only everything! Case in point:

My friend Ron from Nova Scotia (I’ve mentioned him in previous blogs) visited with us from Wednesday of last week until Saturday. He had previously stayed with us for a while in October. Here’s a bit of his story: about seven months ago, after twenty-five plus years of marriage, he came home to find a note from his wife stating she was leaving and would not be returning. Talk about “hard, cold facts”! Yesterday would have been his wedding anniversary, but instead of it being a celebratory, joyous occasion, it was but another pain-filled reminder of all that now appears to be lost. On top of that, on Tuesday he is meeting with a financial advisor to finalize the process of declaring personal bankruptcy. My wife brought it to my attention that Ron was facing bankruptcy, both literally and figuratively, in that there was a real parallel between physical and spiritual bankruptcy.

Getting back to the story of Joseph; anyone who has read this wonderful account knows it has a happy ending. We have the glorious advantage of knowing that in the end “what [Joseph’s brothers] had intended for evil, God meant for good”. The cold, hard “facts” were eventually exposed, but that didn’t keep Jacob from believing a lie and grieving for the son he believed to be dead. In the end, however, we know his sorrow was turned to joy. In Ron’s case, he can see nothing but darkness and death and sorrow. The cold, hard facts have blinded his ability to see any good in his heartbreak. His heavenly father, however, knows that this time of grief has the potential to produce in Ron a capacity to respond to God’s unfathomable love and comfort in ways that up to now Ron has never dreamt possible. It makes little difference whether Ron’s wife returns; what really matters now is the issue of Ron’s heart.

Within each of us there is a divine instructor, tutor, wanting to lead us into what is already ours, but the weaning process of knowing the “truth” verses the so called hard cold facts is where the rubber meets the road.


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