Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare [peace] and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.
“I don’t know.” That’s probably the most consistent thought in many of our minds these days. We must act on the advice of experts but we are dealing with unknown risk levels. No matter how much information we consume about mitigating the danger of our exposure to Corona virus it’s not enough to ease our minds completely when the time comes for one of those essential trips out of the safety of the exile of self-isolation. Jeremiah reminds us God has a plan and Corona virus is not the only danger of our exile.
“A people in such a position as the Jews in Babylon were in danger in two ways: either to be buoyed up with false hopes, and so to fall into foolish expectations; or, to fall into despair, and have no hope at all, and so become a sullen and degraded people, who would be unfit for restoration, and unable to play the part which God ordained for them in the history of mankind.” (Spurgeon 1887).
God knows the plan even if I haven’t a clue what it is. Exile from the familiarity of daily life has given me a new awareness I need to be equipped to play the part God has set for my restoration. He’s given me expert advice about the one part of my future and hope I am in charge of. I can do this one thing to be prepared even in the exile of self-isolation! “…Call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.”
So it came to pass, when Joseph had come to his brothers, that they stripped Joseph of his tunic, the tunic of many colors that was on him. Then they took him and cast him into a pit. And the pit was empty; there was no water in it. And they sat down to eat a meal. (Gen. 37:23–25 NKJV)
“His eyes were wide with fear. His voice was hoarse from screaming. It wasn’t that his brothers didn’t hear him.”
I post on Sundays and then on Wednesdays and by early Tuesday morning, July 4, 2017, I was still looking for some fresh Biblical take on “freedom.” I’d been stumped by my “idea” until I read that quote from You’ll Get Through This by Max Lucado. Joseph’s story became a real story of freedom for me.
When I read that quote I could imagine how Joseph felt lying there in that pit with not a clue that he might one day look at this as his day of freedom. The freedom from that pit began with his brother’s betrayal and led to him being enslaved, trapped and imprisoned. It was those days after freedom that God used to really free Joseph. They taught him that freedom is more than “being freed.” Freedom is focus on being “free” despite circumstances.
The Biblical record of those days after freedom has given us the benefit of hindsight of that truth. Joseph was 17 when his brothers freed him from the pit and sold him to the Ishmaelites who sold him to Potiphar who put him in prison. He was in his 30s when he was freed from prison by Pharaoh and set “over all the land of Egypt.”
All those years later Joseph spoke these words of true freedom to those same brothers: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” “Hurry and go up to my father, and say to him, Thus says your son Joseph: “God has made me lord of all Egypt; come down to me. You shall dwell in the land of Goshen. Joseph was 110 when he died, a truly free man.