Genesis 46:29-30 Joseph had his chariot made ready and went to Goshen to meet his father Israel.  As soon as Joseph appeared before him, he threw his arms around his father and wept for a long time.  Israel said to Joseph, “Now I am ready to die, since I have seen for myself that you are still alive.”

Jacob’s (Israel’s) outlook on life would have changed immensely when his sons came to him with their younger brother’s blood-stained ‘technicolour dreamcoat’, and the all-too-credible ‘story’ that he had been attacked and mauled by wild animals.  (Everything could have been quite different for the poor grieving father if DNA had been discovered back then!)

But for the next 22 years Jacob would have had to wrestle with God’s strange providence in the loss of his beloved son.  What about God’s promises about abundant blessing for his family?  What about Joseph’s dreams about his future rise to power and rule?  More than two decades of struggling with doubt and confusion!  But now!  The joy and relief would have been emotionally overwhelming for the aged Jacob!

Joseph’s weeping ‘for a long time’ would have been the natural reaction that came from seeing the depth of his father’s relief.  The message that comes to me from these verses is the confirmation they show of God’s sovereign rule in his world and of his faithfulness to ALL his promises.  I, too, in the face of particular cases of the perplexity of God’s providence in people’s lives, struggle with the tension I feel between hanging onto his promises and proven faithfulness, and the reality of what I see actually happening!

And, thankfully, being able to read about the meeting between Jacob and Joseph reminds me that I CAN believe that “in ALL things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28), and be reminded that “FAITH is being SURE of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1).  In the light of this, I find myself praying, with Jesus’ disciples, “Lord, increase [my] faith!”  (Luke 17:5).
– Bruce Christian