The past two years have been full. They have been full of tremendous good and unexpected blows. It would be an easy thing to make a collage of headlines and fearful discourse and end up with a miserable piece of flimsy, tragic art. That’s easy — it takes no imagination or even a hint of strength or character. Hope for things not yet seen, fighting for victory, refuting falsehood and standing up for tyranny? Those are difficult tasks. They take effort and determination and the ability to take a hit and keep moving forward. God’s blessings and purposes are not maimed by human folly or the devil’s evil. Those are bumps on the road in the wake of an armored convey powered by redemption.
Joseph was a man who experienced the full, shocking, grotesque measure of human evil. He was the victim of vindictive people who were supposed to look out for him — his own family. Much can be said about the absence of Israel’s fatherhood or the disastrous results of favoritism, but ultimately, Joseph is a wronged party. In one night, he goes from a prince among princes, the son of the most important human being on the planet, to robbed and dragged into slavery. That would be the end of so many tragedies and real life stories.
However, it is far from the end. Joseph is a slave, there’s no good way to spin that. Fortunately, God’s convoy is an unstoppable force, and this earth-shattering blow is turned into something else entirely. He becomes the most important member of his master’s household because of his relentless integrity. It is a big win. Then, the next setback. Joseph is wrongly accused and wrongly imprisoned without a chance to let his record speak for itself. Imprisoned, again.
The Leader of the convoy is not deterred remotely. Joseph becomes the warden’s right hand man, with supernatural success. A chance to be free seems to present itself, but it is another apparent setback. Until, once more, it turns out that God’s blessing is a force that the devil’s roadblocks do not effect. Once forgotten, Joseph is called before Pharaoh, and relies on God’s gift to him in interpreting dreams. Joseph does not even consider himself when giving the king of Egypt a brilliant strategy, but he is rewarded because of his faithfulness.
His brothers’ evil purposes and the devil’s delight in it was powerless. Joseph becomes the most powerful man in the world, second only Pharaoh. He feeds the starving and saves his family. When given the chance to wreak havoc on his brothers, he is moved to compassion to bless them even as he quietly tests them. Israel, long broken by Joseph’s apparent loss, brings his whole clan. They are given prime land and are considered to be a royal class all on their own. Israel does not simply see Joseph and die — God gives him nearly twenty more years to see the fullness of God’s unstoppable generosity and redemption.
This final arc of Genesis is not unknown. You have certainly read it more times than you can count. What am I trying to say?
December of 2021 and of January 2022 have been full of evidence of the convoy of God, so often hidden by our own anxiety and anger. Let me prove it.
For one thing, nations across Europe are exploding into freedom. Restrictions on freedom and life are being spurned in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and in the Czech Republic.
Some officials are simply tired of fueling the fires of division for no reason other than power for it’s own sake. Some may be motivated by their own shame, caught in hypocrisy. Nonetheless, the convoy pushes through, evidenced in both human excellence and in the humiliation of tyrants.
There are far more countries in Europe, you might add, these are just outliers. Are they? Across France, Finland and Sweden, loud, passionate, and utterly non-violent voices roar against tyranny and foolishness.
This vast continent of complicated history, the birthplace of so many of the values we hold dear, is still holding fast. There may be resistance, but it is a futile effort to resist the joyful throngs that cry for freedom. It seems that fresh chaos looms over the horizon — but what have we learned about “setbacks”? Wars and rumors of wars are part and parcel in this broken world, and Jesus tells us that we are not to be fueled by panic or believe every alarm that rings “THE END IS NEAR”.
What about closer to home? Well…
The Supreme Court blocked an attempt to control the freedom of countless thousands of Americans. Tyranny is always longing to control the image bearers most sacred calls — work and passion for work are God’s idea. God’s ideas don’t give in so easily!
The Supreme Court also protected federal workers, those who believe in the best for our nation and those who try their hardest to do what is right in the midst of public scrutiny and distrust (earned or otherwise).
The Supreme Court of New York delivered a blow to another misguided attempt of tyranny disguised as help.
The governor of Virginia has taken a stand against those who would permanently divide the next generations of Americans as “oppressors” and has strengthened the rights of worried parents and hurting kids.
But there are appeals and resistance! Some of them are even disobeying the law, or keeping the instruction of the innocent as a hostage! But there’s still so much wrong! But did you hear what the President just said? (I am certainly guilty of that last one)
Setbacks are frustrating. They are hurtful. But they are shadows that cannot hide the sun that burns them all away. Hope is unstoppable because it is intrinsic to the nature of God Himself. The easy road is one that grabs every single thing that isn’t right and sets it up as a terrible idol, a comfort, even source of control. The right road is a marathon, full of truth and blessing, marked by landmarks of victory and success. There are puddles, mudslides and roadblocks. Some of them seem immovable.
They never are. They never were. Freedom wins. Righteousness wins. Victory wins. That’s where we’re living, by the way — between victory and victory, not a rock and a hard place. God rips through human hatred, slavery, imprisonment, lies, and unforgiveness. The convoy has more room and plenty of open jobs — but it will keep moving. It will not stop for your misery or your fear. It won’t stop to let me vent or complain, even about evil things worth resisting. The only fuel for God’s invincible convoy is faith. When it is planted, its potential output is beyond measure.
The force of God’s Word and Will is never stopped, never delayed, never rescheduled. The past few years have seen like a hundred setbacks, one after another, to a nearly comic degree. But — have they?
All Heaven sees is a fleet of tire tracks and busted up fences. Put up as many as you like, put up as much of a fuss as you can! It will never be enough. If the prince of darkness, the father of tyranny and lies, the most wretched thing in Creation can only take cover, there’s nothing in the universe that Heaven won’t break right through. That means your bad attitude, too! Bad attitudes are just as destructive and just as targeted by Heaven as the worst of human evil.
Will you join the force, choose hope, and revel in the perfect peace of God? That peace surpasses understanding — it never lets off the gas no matter what is “in the way.”
The other option is wallowing in fear and anger and letting the stench of complaining reach the sky. The other option is inviting sickness and depression and all manner of filth into your life.
You won’t find me there, I’ll be the one honking the horn at that misery as it dives for cover.
(Here’s the wreckage that Heaven’s Convoy leaves behind!)
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