Believing God for Seasons of Joy Again
“Israel said to Joseph, ‘I never expected to see your face again, and now God has allowed me to see your children too.’”
Mom, I miss our old house,” my sweet girl whispered. I asked why and expected to hear thoughts on our lush backyard or her pink bedroom.
“We were so … happy there.” Her tender honesty pierced my heart. I affirmed her feelings and proceeded to name some positive points about our current life — but I couldn’t escape the reality she’d so wisely identified.
We were happy there, in our season of “before.” Before an agonizing diagnosis rocked our family. Before a cross-country move and the loss of a supportive community. Before multiple hardships wore us down with a fierce relentlessness.
The loss of a “before” season often leaves us listless and low on hope. We wonder if life can indeed be good again, as it once was before the diagnosis, job loss, crisis, death or affair. Before the lights went out and life stopped making sense.
This soul ache presses hard into our faith muscle, sometimes even threatening to wear it out. And when these grueling seasons unpack their bags and linger for a while, it’s easy to begin believing: My best days are behind me.
The patriarch Jacob experienced a “before” season, too — before the loss and presumed death of his beloved son, Joseph. While Jacob had many children, Genesis 37:3 tells us he “… loved Joseph more than any of his other sons”.
Unfortunately, this favoritism led Joseph’s jealous brothers to sell him into slavery and fake his death. With chilling deception, they presented Joseph’s bloodied, multicolored coat to Jacob, who then grieved mightily.
While Scripture doesn’t give us many details, we can imagine the depth of Jacob’s trauma. We can envision the way this massive loss tore at his soul and clouded his mind. I don’t think it’s a stretch to imagine Jacob was never quite as lighthearted from that day forward. Perhaps, like us, he believed a season of joy would never come again.
And yet the conclusion of Genesis reveals the exquisite story God had been writing through those dark days: Joseph, alive and well in Egypt, was finally reunited with his father. Our key verse recounts the tender, poignant words spoken by Jacob (also called “Israel”):
“Israel said to Joseph, ‘I never expected to see your face again, and now God has allowed me to see your children too.’” (Genesis 48:11)
What a resolution! Not only does Jacob have his son back, but he also experiences the joy of knowing his grandsons. After years of heartache, God brought Jacob into a spacious season where he enjoyed 17 years with Joseph.
When seasons of loss arrive, let us not forget the truth that God always, always works for our good. He loves us deeply and will never cease moving on our behalf — even when we don’t understand His ways, for what is dark to us isn’t dark to Him.
You and I may not receive the ending we’d choose, but we can choose to trust the God who wants the very best for us. It’s tempting to draw conclusions about the end of the story when we’re in the middle of it. But what if we leaned into that faith muscle a little deeper? What if we grasped onto the truth with all our might and trusted God to write the ending He knows we need?
In painful seasons, we can draw hope and strength from this story of Jacob and Joseph. Instead of pulling away from Jesus, we can run to Him and entrust our heartache and disappointment into His scarred hands. We can reject the enemy’s lie that joy will never come again.
Your best days are not behind you, dear one. In Jesus, we know each season serves a divine purpose. And just as God was faithful to Jacob and Joseph, so God will be faithful to you, too. Let’s never give up hoping and expectantly looking for the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
Father, thank You for working good on my behalf in every season. I trust You and believe You for better days ahead. As I wait, help me lean into faith and find joy right where I am today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Psalm 27:13-14, “I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living! Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!”
What is stealing your joy in this season? What’s one promise of God you can claim today?