And as for me, if I am bereaved of my children, I am bereaved. – Genesis 43:14
Jacob had lost Joseph, or so he thought he had, and he was terrified of losing Benjamin as well. So much so that we are told his whole life was bound up in Benjamin. If Benjamin were to die Jacob believed he would not survive either.
Even after years of being a man of great faith, fear still found a way to grip Jacob, and now a famine had hit the land. The only way the family was going to survive was if Benjamin would to go to Egypt to appease the man who had spoken harshly to Jacob’s other sons. Jacob’s hand was forced: send him or the entire family starves. The prospect of doing this terrified him.
It is at this point we see Jacob’s faith conquer the fear of losing Benjamin. When Jacob says, “If I am bereaved of my children, I am bereaved,” it is as if he looked his greatest fear in the face and declared, “even if Benjamin, and possibly the other sons are taken away by this man in Egypt, God can still be trusted.” He seemed to realize that God’s ways are higher than his, and what He does is always good.
One of the great things about being a Christian, whose primary goal is to see God glorified, is that we know God can be glorified in times of both ease or pain. In fact, His glory is often more clearly seen in our times of struggle and frailty than when we think we are strong. What looks like failure can be the Lord’s hand guiding us to fulfill the desire of our heart: to see His name hallowed. Knowing this Jacob could resign to the fact that God could be trusted no matter what was to come.
It is interesting how anxiety can often be worse when the danger is not even present, yet when trouble actually comes, the Lord gives us the strength we need. Some have said that anxiety is fear looking for a cause. It swims around within us doing its work of pointing out all the possibilities of danger, then when it finds something that causes us to tremble, rational or not, it sinks its teeth in and won’t let go.
What is it that gives you the greatest fear? Is it illness, financial problems, loss of a loved one, or even something like loneliness? Maybe it is time to look at it directly in the face and say, “even it it all comes true it cannot touch my life, because my life is hidden in Christ.” Nothing in life or death can separate me from His love.
In the end, Jacob feared the man in Egypt, but the man in Egypt turned out to be Joseph, his son, who was seeking to bless him. Likewise, as believers, the troubles we fear can only touch us if the Lord allows them, and if He does so, it is only for a greater purpose. It is not until we understand that God is sovereign, and that He is working all things for the good of those who love Him, that we can look at our greatest fear and say, “come what may, God can be trusted.” It is at that moment, when your faith in God wins the battle over fear, that you will find a peace that passes all understanding.