An Unexpected Journey

FamilyAbout 5 weeks before we had our sonogram for Paula’s pregnancy with Joel, God told me the baby would be a boy. I was attending a men’s bible study focused around the Biblical aspects of manhood at the time. The primary focus of this study were the principles that Biblical men 1) reject passivity, 2) accept responsibility, 3) live courageously, and 4) expect the greater reward, God’s reward. It was an encouraging study to be part of, but on this occasion something strange happened. I heard God speak to me about the child in Paula’s womb. God said that I should pay attention because I would need it for my son. I was flabbergasted. Was I receiving a prophetic word from the Holy Spirit? There is a lot more that I could say about this and how God has used it in my life, but just this evening, as we read our family devotions together, the focus was Joseph’s dreams from Gen 37:1-11. A new note was struck for me about it that has to do with our current situation with Joel. “God gave Joseph his dreams, which seemed wonderful at first. But if Joseph had known all the hard times that lay ahead, he might have talked about the dreams in a more humble way. God was going to take Joseph through slavery and prison before he would finally make him a great ruler in Egypt.” (Marty Machowski, The Gospel Story Bible, p45) God clearly told me we were going to have a son, and this was unexpected and quite exciting, but I had no idea at that time that it would include our current dark road into cancer. Now, I don’t have any presumptions about Joel that he’s going to become any kind of national leader like Joseph did, and in fact, if Joel could have his way, he would be a quiet machinist or tinkerer in a small town somewhere. But, regardless of what God will do with him in adulthood, right now we’re in an unexpected (for us) situation. Like getting thrown into a cistern, sold to Ishmaelites, and into slavery, cancer is an unexpected situation. Hard times indeed, but as Joseph himself (Gen 45:5) said, God used this evil thing for good (Rom 8:28) by saving the land from famine, so that sons could be born to the line of Judah, including Jesus, which was for my good also. A helpful reminder for me as I watch my son take in horrible chemotherapy chemicals directly into his heart in order that the rest of his body might be spared from a more horrible disease. I pray that as God takes us through this difficult road, he would use it to continue to form both my son Joel, and me, into Biblical men who live according to the calling he has called us to (2 Tim 1:8-9).

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