“The sons of Ephraim: Shuthelah, and Bered his son, Tahath his son, Eleadah his son, Tahath his son, Zabad his son, Shuthelah his son, and Ezer and Elead, whom the men of Gath who were born in the land killed, because they came down to raid their livestock. And Ephraim their father mourned many days, and his brothers came to comfort him. And Ephraim went in to his wife, and she conceived and bore a son. And he called his name Beriah, because disaster had befallen his house. His daughter was Sheerah, who built both Lower and Upper Beth-horon, and Uzzen-sheerah. Rephah was his son, Resheph his son, Telah his son, Tahan his son, Ladan his son, Ammihud his son, Elishama his son, Nun his son, Joshua his son.” 1 Chronicles 7:20-27
There are nuggets of gold tucked in to the holy scriptures, if we would but search for them. We might list our favorite Bible characters as those known for humble leadership or military might, warriors, judges, kings, sophists, missionaries, but do we also treasure those who are tender and ‘human,’ who are remembered for the way God met them and redeemed their suffering? Ephraim, son of Jacob’s eleventh son Joseph, was a seemingly ordinary man, noted for his grief over his sons who were killed in an attempted raid. From his ‘disaster’ we see the beauty of God’s redemptive mercy, borne from the seed of shed blood, come to flower through a son born out of the comfort of familial and marital love. That son’s daughter became an accomplished woman, and his son the predecessor, over generations, of Joshua, one of the greatest men and leaders of Israel who ever lived.
We can become numbed by pain in our lives, disasters of hurt from having been deceived or betrayed, from the punch-gut shock of losing a loved one suddenly, or the weary, draining sadness over a drawn-out suffering and good-bye. Our observation of long-standing, seemingly never-ending rebellion of a child, or our inability to shake off regret for what never came to be in our career or a relationship, can leave us frigid and in the dark, resigned to limited vision and thinking we will never get warm again. But God knows all our grief, His merciful Son bore it on our behalf, and He is nigh to brighten our soul’s winter with His light of hope. (Isaiah 53:4-5)
Almighty, omniscient God includes accounts like this in scripture to remind us He is intricately involved in every aspect of our lives, and is powerful to save, comfort, and redeem. Not one tear falls that He does not measure, not one pang pierces that He does not feel. He is indeed the God of all comfort, Who delights to exercise His perfect nature in our lives. (Psalm 121:3,8; Proverbs 15:3; 2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” Zephaniah 3:17
Lord, thank You for Your loving and merciful light that permeates and dispels the darkest pain. Enable me to bring Your sweet comfort to those who mourn, that they are wrapped in warmth by Your palpable presence. (Matthew 5:4)