This is going to be a short letter from my heart and mind. The longer we live as Christians the more we learn of the grace and love of God in Jesus. We also share in sufferings, many and personal.
Dear soul, we know we can’t see the future; we are hard pressed, but we are confident because the Lord we serve is the same God that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob hoped and believed in. “I am” to them has become “Jesus” to us.
God’s word is for the weak, my soul, the evil, and the troubled. While we can expect the struggles we might have on this earth, Israel shared a different perspective for you, my soul. Israel looked back when he recounted to Pharaoh his time on earth. He said, “The years of my pilgrimage are a hundred and thirty. My years have been few and difficult, and they do not equal the years of the pilgrimage of my fathers” (Genesis 47:9).
Looking back as an older soul, or looking ahead for those who are younger, we can be confident that our time on earth will be full of trouble, injustice, and hard times. Israel worked for a dubious boss, fled his family, and was led to believe that his favorite son was murdered for years. He was acquainted with difficulty. But he was also familiar with blessing when he was reunited with his son Joseph, and when his life was spared during a seven year famine.
Dear soul, your life as long as you live will be full of blessings and include seasons of good times. Israel, a grandfather of the faith, a man who was the father of the Savior, the person whom God renamed, recalled the truth of what life on earth consists of even for believers. Israel was the father of God’s cherished people; even so, he was not spared hard times and difficulty.
My soul and yours, believe the words of the Holy Spirit. He inspired Moses to illustrate clearly how difficulties are different for the believer: “I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” even after their bodies were dead and buried. He didn’t write “I was the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”
Jesus explained the depth of the implications of this passage. God is not the God of the “dead” but of the living “because all are alive to him.” Christians will never die, though they do physically and temporarily, because God has made them alive through faith and baptism. Remember your baptism, my soul, which “now saves you”.
Dear soul within me and dear soul of the reader, bear with whatever suffering you have now, knowing that it will pass. Some day we will reign in perfection with Christ in heaven. Now we face personal and personalized difficulty. If you aren’t suffering now, strengthen your brothers and sisters who are. Go near, my soul, to the “I am” who gives rest to weary, burdened souls by his blood, death and resurrection. Remember that even death cannot separate us from God to whom all are alive.