But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them. – Genesis 50:19-21
My daughters do not always like the decisions my wife and I make for them. We have withheld things from them or demanded certain behaviors, and the consequences for them have varied depending on their choices. Along the way, difficulties have come that had nothing to do with their choices, good or bad, but came as a result of living in a sinful world. At these times we try to guide their eyes to see God moving in the midst of difficulty. We need to teach them Joseph’s attitude.
This is one of the hardest things to develop in our children. To have a long view of life and to see our circumstances as preparation for what is ahead takes discipline and faith. To hold onto purpose and meaning when we are crushed and perplexed takes perseverance and hope. We have the privilege to be used by God in these situations, fulfilling the promise that He, “works for the good of those who love him.”
Yet, there is a challenge set out for us in pointing our children in the right direction; we must be pointed in the right direction. If we want our children to see God working for their good in the midst of strife and struggle, they need to see the same characteristic at work in our lives. If we love our children as God desires us to, we will do all we can to work things for their good. We will do all we can to put them in a position to succeed. We will watch over them and protect them. We will present opportunities for them to shine the light of Christ.
Joseph didn’t come to know God through his trials; it was his knowledge of God that made his trial bearable and meaningful. Do our children know us well enough to trust us in the storm? Have they seen us live lives reflecting the character of God? Will they turn to us in their hour of need because they know where to find love and help? We have a short time to build this kind of relationship with our children and the world works its wicked way against us along the way. God help us to be there for our children.
Lord, help us to live the life you desire for us. Fit us for a fatherhood that reveals your character and qualities. May our children come to know you better by knowing us and may we know our children better by knowing You. Amen.