COVER STORY – PENTECOST
Our lives are constantly changing. Occasionally, those changes feel life-shattering. We move, change jobs, get sick, or lose a friend or family member; the list could go on. We wonder how we can continue, but God knows that His plan for us is not broken. God picks up the pieces of our broken lives and makes us His new creation. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus
for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)
Consider the life of Jacob. He fled his home after deceiving his father, fearing that Esau would kill him. He saw firsthand the kind of healing that God is capable of when he returned to his homeland and was met by his brother’s embrace (Genesis 33:4). He had faced adversity of many kinds and had been blessed by God with twelve sons; then he was told that his beloved son Joseph was dead. “And all his sons and all his daughters arose to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted, and he said, ‘For I shall go down into the grave to my son in mourning.’ Thus his father wept for him.” (Genesis 37:35) His life was broken in a way that no human comfort could mend.
God’s plan was bigger than Jacob understood. He used Joseph to help prepare for a seven-year famine. But God didn’t care only about the big picture. He knew the pain that Jacob was living with and healed him by reuniting him with his son. “Then Israel said, ‘It is enough. Joseph my son is still alive. I will go and see him before I die.’” (Genesis 45:28)
Jesus’ disciples faced confusion that only God could solve for them. Until Pentecost, they lacked the full understanding of their Savior’s work. Even at Jesus’ ascension, they still misunderstood His mission on earth, asking, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6) They stared up at the sky, bound to the earth from which Jesus had ascended. They were unsure what their lives would be like without their Teacher and Friend walking beside them.
But Christ did not leave them alone. He promised, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20), and “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) On Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was poured out on them, and they shared their full understanding of Christ’s work. God cleared the confusion that troubled them.
We know that the evils of the world are caused by sin, but we often cannot understand why God allows them to happen. We cannot see God’s full plan in our lives, but when we see God’s hand in the lives of Jacob, Joseph, the disciples, and others throughout history, we can take comfort that He does have a plan for us. Not all things will be easy, but God never leaves us alone in the ashes of grief or hopelessness. He supplies the spiritual strength for our lives and sets a path before us. Let us take comfort in God’s plan for us, putting aside our distress in adversity and praying, “Thy will be done.”
Ross Kok is a teacher at Holy Cross Lutheran School in Phoenix, Arizona.