Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A Widower's Poor Choices Affect the Years Ahead of Him

Last Wednesday I told you about the widower who got stuck in grief. So often we think we don't have a choice. While we can't control our circumstances, believe it or not we can decide how we feel about them---that's what freedom in Christ is all about. The Bible story of the Hebrew patriarch Jacob shows the choices he made after the supposed death of his favorite son, Joseph. (If you're not familiar with Jacob and Joseph see Genesis 37-50). Here's a quick bit from last weeks story:
With the rest of his family around, his eleven sons---some with wives and Jacob's own grandchildren---Jacob refused to be comforted. I know what it's like to grieve and mourn, and to not find the comfort I yearn for . . . But to refuse any comfort that's offered???? My heart goes out to him in his deep grief. In addition, do you see the vow he makes? He declares he will go down to Sheol---which means go to his grave---in mourning for his son.... What is he setting himself up for?
Jacob's choices clearly affected his family for many years to come.
  • Jacob continued to play favorites with his sons and became over-protective of Joseph's younger brother, Bejamin.
  • When Jacob's son Simeon is jailed in Egypt, Jacob unjustly accuses the other sons of depriving him now of two children!  
  • Jacob's family is near starvation, but he still refuses to let Benjamin go to Egypt. He can't bear to part from his "only" son. When he finally does relent and release Benjamin, he dramatically warns the other sons again that he will grieve until he is dead. (Can you imagine saying this to your own children who are alive and right in front of you? How worthless would they feel? Read about this incident in Genesis 42 to get the whole story).
  • Just like a drama queen today, for Jacob, it's all about Jacob. "Why did you bring this trouble on me?" he demands of his sons.
  • And in his final bleak and hopeless outlook in Genesis 43 he says, "If I am bereaved, I am bereaved." 
Jacob and Joseph remind me of opals:
gemstones made of fractures.
While Jacob wallowed in his misery all these years, Joseph had not died at all. What really happened was that his own brothers sold him as a slave to a caravan of Egyptians! Surely he's the one who could have had some grief and anger issues! Instead, the story of Joseph inspires millions of people over the ages who find themselves unjustly treated. Joseph shows us true faith, and how to handle extreme tragedy.

But God uses both men, father and son, to model walking with Him. Sometimes we walk well like Joseph did, sometimes we fall flat on our faces in muddy despair like Jacob. There are no instant solutions, and the happy ending comes only at the end. What we can be sure of is that God chose both of these men, affected history with them, and loved them intensely. Today, thousands of years later, we still see God's glory through them! May we all take courage and know that God is working glory in us and our circumstances too.

". . . a healed relationship or person can reflect more glory than one who never knew brokenness." (pg. 64, No Other Gods, by Kelly Minter.  © 2007, Lifeway Press   


  1. I think there are many who believe grief is something which will one day magically release its grip. They never fight against it. I find a deep sadness in that resignation.

    Excellent post, Ferree. xxx

  2. It makes me sad too Red. There's so much yet to live, and I know their loved one would want them to get out and embrace their life and purpose. It is a fight. It's a hard choice, but it's worth fighting for and I appreciate people like you and other courageous bloggers who help us all get through this.

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  4. Yes Red, that's what it is I call it the good fight of faith because thats one fight the bible says we can fight.. In the few months of my being widowed one thing I have discovered is that if I want to live a meaningful life after his major set back, i have to fight and it is a difficult fight but I know it will be worth it. It's so easy to allow your self just remain in grief and have a continuous pity party. But the Lord wants us to be open to his grace, strenght and healing! He offers it and it's there but we must reach out and take it! Halima

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