Both young men must have thought their lives were over. Taken into a country of foreigners where they were sold into slavery, they must have despaired of ever seeing their families and homelands again. They had to adapt to a new culture, learn a new language and suffer the humiliations of slavery. They must have believed God had abandoned them. But God does not abandon his people. These two young men, one who lived hundreds of years before Christ, the other hundreds of years after, would change the course of history. God gave their lives a purpose and meaning that could only have come through the struggles they endured.
Joseph, son of Jacob, father of the Hebrew nation, was responsible for saving not only the people of Egypt from starvation, but his own family, and therefore the Hebrew nation as well. And Patricius, a sixteen-year-old Briton who would become known as Patrick of Ireland, was the first to take the message of Christ to that nation, the very country where he had been enslaved.
There is another man whose life took a turn for the worse. He was in the prime of
his life. He had a huge following among common people and those of influence. It looked like he was going to take the nation by storm. But then he took his friends aside one day and told them he was going to die, and very soon. He told them be would suffer indignities and be treated like a criminal. He told them it would look like utter defeat. But God does not abandon His people. That young man’s name was Jesus.
As with the stories of Joseph and Patrick, God had a purpose for the suffering Jesus endured. It was a purpose that would change the history, not just of a nation, but of mankind. The suffering and death of Christ freed us all from slavery, slavery that was meant to separated us forever from our Father. But God’s purpose could not be thwarted. Through the death of Jesus, His will was accomplished. We were reunited with our true family, reinstated in our true country. What looked like defeat was in reality complete victory.
There are times in all our lives when it appears God has abandoned us. We see the horrors of wars and famines raging all over our world. We experience the loss of loved ones to the plagues of cancer and other diseases that seem to be out of control. We cry out at the injustices that happen every day.
But God has not abandoned us. He will bring all things to completion in His time and according to His purposes. Therefore we can stand in good company, with Joseph, Patrick and Jesus, and repeat the words of Paul, “Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him, for that day.” (2Timothy 1:12)