DREAD OR ELATION?
And Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?” But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed at his presence. So Joseph said to his brothers, “Come near to me, please.” And they came near. And he said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. Genesis 45:3-4
The difference between Joseph appearing to his brothers and Jesus appearing in the clouds to take us home is that we know He’s coming. The brothers did not expect to see Joseph and they were shocked at his disclosure. Dismay and dread were their instant reactions.
Dismay and dread will also characterize the reactions of many in God’s family. It’s tragic to me that such a wondrous event will be clouded by lack of enthusiasm. Jesus told us that He’s coming. He told us that the timing will be a surprise. He told us to prepare in every way to see Him. Joy is meant to be the prevailing emotion at His arrival, not sorrow.
There are three categories of people within the family of God who react differently at the thought of seeing Jesus.
- Some dread seeing Him because they are not ready. Their flesh rules their lives and they forget that their old man has been crucified with Christ. While living by the Spirit is made possible for every child of God, it requires daily investment. Not wanting to engage in the effort, they indulge in pleasures that eventually eclipse the beauty of Jesus entirely. They are not ready to see Him. They are not looking for Him. They are hoping that His coming isn’t imminent on God’s timetable.
- Some dread seeing Him though they need not to. They came to the cross long enough to get saved but not long enough to get loved. Still caught up in legalism, they believe that they must work tirelessly to keep God happy. They do not know how much they are cherished. They do not understand grace. The thought of seeing Jesus makes them feel like taking cover. However, Jesus cannot wait to see them and His heart longs for their company.
- There are those who live looking up. Jesus is their treasure and their heart is saturated with thoughts of Him. They took Jesus at His Word to keep the lamp lit – anticipating when He would appear as a Bridegroom coming to claim His bride. They dressed and waiting. Any other lover pales in comparison and they live on every Word of their coming bridegroom, by faith.
Joseph’s brothers had no way to prepare for the reunion with the brother they betrayed. They would need to see Joseph extend His arms to them in mercy to know where they stood. But you and I can prepare for the coming of Jesus. We can know where we stand with Him by a review of the cross and an honest reflection on our level of discipleship
Help me admit, and then probe, every trace of shyness in my spirit. Amen