"You meant it for evil; God meant it for good." Genesis 50:20
and all shall
and all manner
shall be well.
dame julian of norwich - 14th century - mystic
As January comes to a close, our wanderings through the books of Genesis and Job end. Both books begin with goodness and prosperity. In Genesis, God is pronouncing creation "good." In Job, we see fruitfulness and faithfulness in the first chapter.
But the bulk of these books shares stories of wrath, anger, unfaithfulness, deceit, sorrow and pain. As readers, we have waded slowly through the bog of sin and its results. We've mourned. We've been appalled. We've sat in the ash heap. We've cried. We've wondered if life could get any worse.
Like well crafted novels, though, all the loose ends finally come together in both of these books. Genesis' theme is stated in chapter 50: "You meant it for evil; God meant it for good." Job is able to remain faithful, despite the immense sorrow in his life, and God restores him.
There is great hope in this theology.
Even in a prosperous nation like ours, all of us will face the hard things of life: betrayal, pride, sickness, abuse, misunderstandings, jealousy, violence, abandonment, loss and death.
There will be times when we feel we are wandering aimlessly.
There will be times when we feel we have been greatly wronged.
There will be times we find ourselves in a pit.
There will be times we are imprisoned by false accusations.
There will be times when even our best friends' words will not comfort us.
There will be times when we feel we have waited and waited and waited for hope to come knocking at our door, only to find ourselves old and worn out, with no further possibility of fruitfulness.
This is the common plight of humanity.
But God will always have the final word.
We have learned that God sees, God wreaks vengeance, God provides, God blesses, God flips reality, God brings about the impossible, God goes ahead of his people, God is in control.
So this is yet another word - logos - I am putting in my backpack as I walk upon terra firma. No matter what the circumstances may be, God is meaning it for good. That's an easy theology to embrace when all is well. But hard to hold on to when life is a flood, or a famine, or a grief.
El Roi, Jehovah Jireh, El-Bethel, fill my backpack with your Word that I might always be full, hydrated and prepared for whatever I meet on this pilgrimage.
And all shall be well...and all shall be well...and all shall be well...