Summary: Life is seldom fair, but God is always good. We face an uncertain future, but we do so with a certain, trustworthy, and mighty God.


Genesis 45:4-15

November 5, 2006

1. On Sunday, June 25 I preached a message entitled “The Wisdom of Godly Arithmetic” in which I stated that God has given each one of us exactly 86,400 seconds a day in which to make decisions and choices that either advance or hinder the growth of His Kingdom’s life in us.

• I stated that none of us is guaranteed that full quota at any time. All that we can be assured of is the time we have already had and of this present moment in which we draw a breath.

• On Wednesday morning, October 18, around 6.30am I seriously thought I was in the process of drawing some of my final breaths in this life.

• The crushing pain in my chest and the difficulty in breathing were the most intense I have ever experienced.

• I am grateful to God for His mercy and deeply appreciative and thankful for all your prayers, and the prayers of many of God’s saints around the world, that has brought me thus far through a very scary and harrowing time.

2. While I believe that I am ready for and excited about all that God has prepared for us on the other side of this life, there is certainly part of me that wants to hang on tenaciously to who I have in my dear wife and family for as long as possible.

• And I imagine that all of you share those same sentiments about your own life circumstances.

3. There are certainly a number of lessons I could draw out of my recent experience, but two in particular that I want to share with you are these:

• The first is that life is seldom fair. It has a way of throwing us curve balls when we least expect them and least want them. That goes as much for God’s people as it does for anyone else.

i. This is one of those times for me as well as you. For this congregation, this event could not have happened at a worse time. Some of you have just recently joined this church and we are still in the process of getting to know and love one another. We are just getting plans underway for Thanksgiving and Christmas and plans for our Annual Church Conference have had to be placed on hold. Many of you are going to have to pick up responsibilities you had not planned on till new pastoral leadership can be installed. This is just not fair!

ii. From Anne’s and my own purely human perspective this incident couldn’t have taken place at a worse time – right in the time while we have been without medical insurance as Anne was working Per Diem and waiting for her full time position with benefits to kick in on November 1. The hospital portion of the bill just arrived Thursday totaling $55 thousand. The bill from the cardiologist will no doubt arrive this coming week. If this was going to happen, why could it not have happened 3 months ago while she still had medical insurance or waited till after November 1 when it was re-activated?

iii. Everything in me just wants to just yell out “This is not fair!”

iv. You might be saying the same thing for your own different reasons.

• While life is seldom fair, God is always good. That is a foundational truth that our faith urges and enables us to hold onto in spite of whatever may come our way.

i. Things happen that are tough, frightening, painful, and require major adjustments and adaptations in our life if we are to go on and not just give up and quit.

ii. Support beams in sanctuary roofs crack and break and threaten to demolish all that has been special and memorable about a place of worship. Eyesight dims or hearing fades and makes it difficult for us to continue seeing or listening to the ones who have mattered most in our lives. Limbs and strength fail, making movement and getting about to attend to our needs difficult or impossible. Relationships become infected, inflamed, and poisoned and require painful severance. Loved ones become ill and die, leaving an aching void in our hearts. Pastors and people who have grown to love and trust one another have to come to a time of parting. None of these situations is fair.

iii. Joseph back in the Old Testament could have yelled “Unfair” again and again as his life was disrupted and harassed and threatened – when his brothers took his multi-colored coat made by his father, Jacob - when they threw him in the dry well and left him to die - when they sold him as a slave to Ishmaelite traders - when the wife of Potiphar tried to seduce him and then cried "rape" when he refused and he was thrown in prison under a false accusation. He could have cried out "Unfair! Why do I always draw the short end of the stick and scrape the bottom of life’s barrel?". But through it all God was using those rough and very unfavorable circumstances to mold and shape Joseph’s character and to prepare the hearts and lives of his brothers for a unique rescue operation that would impact the future of the 12 tribes of Israel.

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