“Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.” (Jer. 17:7)
Abraham’s adventure of faith is not about staying comfortably behind in worldly conventional complacency in the city of Haran. Moses is not sent to Egypt with the mission to merely procure better living and working conditions for the Israelites there. Moses is commissioned with the monumental task of delivering an entire nation of peoples out of the despotic control of a worldly-savvy and tyrannical Pharaoh. This is as worldly unconventional as is imaginable…on a colossal scale.
The difficult and challenging training regime set-up by God for Joseph in Egypt, to Joseph at the time puzzlingly contrary to his two earlier prophetic dreams in Canaan, culminates in an unanticipated “resurrection” from Pharaoh’s prison to instantly becoming the governor over the land of Egypt during the great famine. When all of the pieces of Joseph’s life finally come into clear focus as his half-brothers stand before him in Egypt, the realization of God’s guiding hand even amidst all of the many heartbreaks and set-backs causes Joseph to publically break down into uncontrollable weeping (Gen. 45:1-2). The discovery that God knew what He was doing all along, that it all made sense towards a brilliantly conceived outcome, meant everything to Joseph.
The biblical pattern is always first the confronting of a seemingly overwhelming crisis requiring picking up our cross, followed by a divinely-crafted resolution of the crisis by God…making a narrow way…opening an unseen door…best described in New Testament terms as a life-transforming “resurrection” that builds faith, confidence in God, and renewed determination to carry on. The cross and the resurrection skillfully interwoven into these ancient biblical stories of faith, not only serve as a model for hope as we press forward in our own unique adventures of faith, but also serves as a powerful apologetic for the authenticity of the divine origin of these stories that contain cross-of-Christ themes that are beyond human contrivance to manipulate, or even beyond human literary imagination to create.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ was beyond the hopeful and faith-filled contemplation of the early Christian disciples between Passover Friday evening and the following Easter Sunday morning, for a very good reason. God’s thoughts are not our thoughts and God’s ways are higher than our ways. If it were not so…if God is incapable of opening up the Red Sea or of raising Jesus from the dead…then there is no hope of salvation, deliverance, and redemption in this fallen world. In our heart of hearts we would not want salvation to be any other way…even when it comes with the high cost of setting aside worldly conventional normalcy in favor of a risk-filled adventure of faith in order to obtain all of the fruits of salvation.
The calling of the first-century Christians is not to settle into a complacent, conventional normalcy in Jerusalem after Pentecost. The calling of the early Christian church is to boldly proclaim the utterly unconventional gospel message of salvation, energized by the spectacular, paradigm-shifting resurrection of Jesus from the dead…a momentous event of such transforming power that it enabled the first Christians to essentially change the world, from that time going forward.
A resurrection is the God-engineered epiphany that energizes all Christian callings and missions, whether it occurs at the beginning, the middle, or at the end of our journey of faith. A resurrection first requires the painful and disruptive reality of a cross…not worldly conventional normalcy. The power of a “resurrection” in our lives that only God could perform…outside of our contemplation and anticipation…adds the meaning, purpose, direction, and fulfillment to our lives that will climb any mountain, cross any sea, endure any hardship, and overcome all obstacles as we follow Jesus Christ.
This is the ingenious record of the narrative stories of faith in the Bible from beginning to end.