And Joseph made ready his chariot, and went up to meet Israel his father, to Goshen, and presented himself unto him; and he fell on his neck, and wept on his neck a good while. Genesis 46:29
Israel, or Jacob, didn’t despair even though he faced many troubles. He appeared to be rejected, but God didn’t abandon him. He remained, God’s child, and God remained in him in a hidden and wonderful way. Much later, when the events had played themselves out, Jacob saw that his son Joseph was still alive and had become an important leader in Egypt. Then Jacob was happy to have gone through so much suffering. He thought, “I wouldn’t have experienced this much happiness if my family had been taken care of the way I had planned. Joseph would’ve been just a shepherd like the rest of my sons. But now he has been elevated to a position of royalty, and he will save many people.”
So when we are being disciplined and feel sad, we shouldn’t fight against our troubles, but rather remind ourselves, “I will not die but live” (Psalm 118:17). Even when the opposite seems to be true, we should be able to say, “Whenever I feel helpless, I can put my trust in God, who is able to make everything out of nothing. When I am totally devastated, no one can lift me up again the way he can.”
The more severe the suffering, the greater the wonderful benefits to God’s holy people. Being tested through suffering is a sure sign of God’s grace and mercy to his faithful people. When they faithfully cling to God’s promises, unbelievable blessings result. James says, “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him” (James 1:12).
The Ninety-Five Theses is a text that everyone knows, most refer to, but few actually read, writes Stephen Nichols. Nevertheless, it is such a crucial text that it deserves to be read widely. Toward that end, Nichols has prepared this edition with an illuminating introduction, explanatory notes, and several illustrations. Martin Luther has left a legacy that continues to enrich the church through his writings. . ., writes Nichols. All of this may be traced back to the last day in October 1517 and the nailing of the Ninety-Five Theses to the church door.