Lifelines July 15, 2018

In our rough and tumble world, questions about God can easily pop up.  Where is He when I am hurting?  A knife-wielding homicidal maniac charges into a birthday party for a three-year-old.  The results are bewildering.  Why anyone would want to stab children defies reason.  But then, it is not a reasonable world.  So, we scratch our heads and wonder: Where is the Lord?

The state of humans seems to be deteriorating at warp speed.  Terrorists drive cars into crowds.  Gunmen attack schools.  City streets seem more like war zones.  It should not surprise us that a culture that has expelled God from our schools produces ungodly graduates.  It has happened since the beginning of time.  The downward spiral picks up momentum until thoughts and actions are similarly anti-God.  The word of the Lord warns us (Romans 1:18-32), if we’ll just listen.  Life without God gets very ungodly.

That is where we live.  He has been pushed to the margins of society.  Principled Christians are challenged in the courts and protested in the streets.  Confrontation is common.  There is nothing new about that.  Jesus saw it first-hand.  He handed the torch to the apostles who experienced the same type of hostile rejection.  Paul was the Johnny-come-lately missionary who was beaten, jailed and ultimately executed by the enemy’s forces.  Yet, he shared a unique perspective on the brink of his death sentence.

“But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me…(2 Timothy 4:17).”  He did not call the Lord into question, even in the worst of circumstances.  All of his friends had deserted him. He was not doubtful of the Lord’s presence or of His certain safe delivery into eternity (2 Timothy 4:18).  The road to heaven was sure to be a torturous one, but he had confidence that the Lord would see him all the way through.  A crown of righteousness was waiting for him (2 Timothy 4:8).

Joseph felt the full brunt of the injustices that occur in this world.  The world is not fair.  It never has been and never will be.  If we expect it, we will be perpetually disappointed.  Jealousy drove his brothers to sell him.  Yet, he did okay in Egypt.  In fact, he did quite well…for a while (Genesis 39:2).  The Lord was with him.  Obviously.  Then his master’s wife had eyes for him, and his life was turned upside down.

Bogus charges took him to jail.  How’s that for unfair?  Where was God then?  Right there with him, that’s where (Genesis 39:21).  In jail on false accusations?  Yes, even then.  His imprisonment told us about the world in which he lived, not about Joseph or God or the relationship between the two.  The Lord was with him, and He is with His faithful children today, even in the hard times.  Maybe, especially then, because that’s when we need Him most.