October 20, 2020

Confusion and Grief

Genesis 37:12-36

They took the ornate robe back to their father and said, “We found this. Examine it to see whether it is your son’s robe.”

—  Genesis 37:32

The problems in Jacob’s family ran deep. Never dreaming how much his other sons hated their brother Joseph, Jacob sent his favorite son on a simple mission to see how things were going with the family livestock. This gave the brothers an opportunity to take revenge on Joseph, and they covered up their crime by convincing their father that a wild animal had killed his favorite son.

Jacob did not know he had been deceived, but his life was forever changed by this tragedy. As many grieving parents have experienced, the loss of his son consumed Jacob’s thoughts. Indeed, nearly twenty years will pass before we hear any more about Jacob.

Sometimes God allows us to come to a place of confusion, where the road forward seems unclear. Whether it stems from the death of a loved one, as it did for Jacob, or from some other tragedy in our lives, we find ourselves in seasons of waiting and wondering, confused about God’s purpose in it and how it could work out for good and bring him glory.

Do you find yourself fighting the kind of despair that Jacob felt in his grief? Know that God is not finished with your story. His own Son “learned obedience from what he suffered” (Hebrews 5:8), and we too, with Jacob, can learn to wait on God’s grace.

O God, teach us to “be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord” (Psalm 27:14). When we struggle to understand your ways, assure us of your love in Jesus. Amen.

About the author — Joel Vande Werken

Joel Vande Werken has been a pastor since 2007, serving churches in Sussex, New Jersey, and in Whitinsville, Massachusetts. He and his wife, Brandie, have five young children.

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