Lenten Devotion: Sunday, March 22
. . . the God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day.
Life for Jacob looked considerably different from the perspective of the death bed. Now, having been able to trace the hand of God in his life, he can see that life was not one long sequence of sorrows, but a chain of events in the sovereign plan of God to accomplish His purposes. In verses 15 and 16, Jacob mentions the constant care which God had taken of him all his days. Besides glorious times of abundance and joy, Jacob had also known a great deal of hardship in his time. But God kept him from the evil of his troubles.
Sorrow and suffering were seen to be friends, not foes as Jacob had once concluded. Previously, Jacob sought peace and prosperity as his highest goal. With such goals, acquiescence is preferable to adversity. Jacob had preferred to do nothing when his daughter was forcibly taken rather than run the risk of losing his comfort and security. But now, Jacob has come to realize that it was his suffering and trials which were the instruments of God to draw him to the spiritual intimacy.
Our lives will be much happier if we will come to the conclusions Jacob did, but sooner than he. If we can, like Joseph, see the hand of God in our suffering, then we can rejoice in our tribulations, knowing that God is at work maturing us and teaching us endurance (James 1:2-4). “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Cor. 4:8-9).
May our view of life, be that of Jacob in his dying moments: “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (Ps 90:12).