How valuable is a life? What is one willing to pay to save someone from death? Joseph went through slavery and imprisonment to save his family, seventy souls. But was it necessary to suffer so much for so long? Thirteen years of silent tears? God thought so. Jesus died to save the world.
Does God ask of us those same kinds of sacrifices, these deaths that hopefully lead to someone to Christ? Yes. I am going through one at the moment. It seems my memoir must go silent for a while. Is it worth it for the salvation of even one soul? God seems to think so.
Joseph was able to look back on his life. He said, “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.” (Genesis 50:20) That isn’t an easy perspective, but it is the only one that brings life.
When God sent Moses to Pharaoh, he wanted Moses to ask Pharaoh a request. “Let my people go!” Why was that necessary? God doesn’t need anyone’s permission to do what he wants. But God respected Pharaoh’s role. He was giving Pharaoh the chance to do what was right.
Instead Pharaoh revealed his true heart, and God showed Moses the consequence. “Pharaoh will refuse to listen to you – so that my wonders may be multiplied in Egypt.”(Exodus 11:9)
Just like for Pharaoh, God respects our role in life. But can we respect those around us? Can we let them thrive? God gives us a choice… and whichever way we chose, it decides which “wonders” we will see.
Never? Yes! “The one who trusts will never be dismayed.” (Isaiah 28:16) God is quoted again in the Bible, but it is slightly altered. “The one who trusts in the Lord will never be put to shame.” (1 Peter 2:6) Shame shows our sense of moral inadequacy, of feeling that we have royally failed. Dismay shows our sense of emotional inadequacy, of feeling overwhelmed by things happening outside our control. We might have messed up, or life might have messed us up, yet when we trust in God, when we know that He is in control, not us… His indisputable NEVER takes hold.
In the midst of being forced to work for my father I felted utterly dismayed. I couldn’t change it. I also felt shame at not having the strength to fight him. God never judged me for my seeming failures. NEVER. He held my hand and led me out.