Across Trials and Lifetimes



BIBLE TEXTExodus 13:17, 19: [17] When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them along the road to the land of the Philistines, even though it was nearby; for God said, The people will change their minds and return to Egypt if they face war. [19] Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, because Joseph had made the Israelites swear a solemn oath, saying, God will certainly come to your aid; then you must take my bones with you from this place.

PERSONAL REFLECTIONImagine being a 40 year old Israelite. Enslaved by Egyptians for your entire life, you have never personally known anyone among your people who was free from bondage. There is a coffin that resides in the slave quarters. Four hundred and thirty years ago, a one hundred and ten year old man named Joseph died and was placed in it. You have been told it is a tangible link from putative freedom past to the current reality that you and so many generations before you have shared. It represents glory days now perceived in the context of ancient stories for longing hearts.

A series of mind’s-eye illustrations form a fugue with their collective gist. God used Joseph’s faithfulness and obedience to sustain His people. You get it; but it was so long ago. It seems God has long since left. Your forty years are hardly a drop in the bucket compared to the unsearchable desert of time that Israel has existed in bondage and slavery.

For perspective, slip out of character for a moment. July 2014 marked the 238th year since the founding of the United States of America. With that as an aside, fast forward 40 years past your (imagined) birth back at the 390-year yardage marker of Israel’s enslavement. Are you still with me? It is somewhere in the neighborhood of 1440 BC. and you are forty. God’s appointed time has come. What seemed a completed book is about to become a chapter.

The day of deliverance has arrived. Rendered insignificant in light of fact is any degree of belief, disbelief, or neutrality. A coat of blood is on the outside of the front door frame. The Egyptians who lorded over you are suddenly and miraculously very sad and crazy-generous. They are inexplicably falling all over themselves to send you off with their own wealth. What you could never have foreseen just unfolded before your eyes. Neither the fog of amazement nor the uncontrollable smile has had time to fade. Not a step has been taken since personal witness to the unmatched power of God. Then … (screeching tire sound here) …

Oh omniscient God, holdest thou up! … This path you have me stepping away from your miraculous delivery on … begging your pardon, but you picked the difficult one. Might I suggest …”

No more pretending, back to our true age. Recalling personal life trials; I more readily remember the most painful, long lasting, and seemingly hopeless. The ones where deliverance appeared impossible until it came as a gift I could have never imagined or afforded. Remembering my humble role in times like these will reduce worry in trials to come. Impatience complains, ignorance accuses, but results prove His promise.

There is peace in understanding that God never requires my advice for shackle removal. Neither did He need my suggestion on the proper pathway out of bondage. In many cases hindsight has graciously revealed the reason I found myself on a liberation path that didn’t make sense. In times of enlightenment, construct a faith marker. Keep it as an aid for a more expedient ‘counting as joy’ in trials to come.

Victories past are stepping stones for navigating future fires. They allow us to stand fast, true, and still. The bigger the stone, the easier to find comfort in what could be a very long test. I understand that an apparent victory may not be witnessed in my era. That’s okay, it’s not for me that I live.

There is always deliverance. My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has conquered death. The enemy has nothing on me.

PERSONAL APPLICATIONGod’s clock assiduously trickles across the trials and lifetimes of mankind.

PRAYERFather, grant me wisdom to mark my path with indelible reminders of your power and faithfulness. Give me contentment in understanding your plan in much larger than me. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.


Todd is husband to Dana King, father to Loring King and Alyson Holland, grandfather to Weston Daniel King, and father-in-law to Jeffrey Holland. He is a self-employed consultant for medical facility construction projects. Enjoys beach vacations, creating and playing music, and fishing.

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