In this treatment of the life of Joseph, Max Lucado shows that he is not only a great writer and faithful expositor, but also has the sensitive heart of a true pastor.
This book gives realistic hope for Christians facing difficulties. His biblical soundbite is, ‘You’ll get through this, it won’t be painless or quick, but you will get through this.’ He underscores the glorious overruling providence of God from Genesis 50:20, ‘In God’s hands intended evil becomes eventual good.’ He puts our fears into perspective by the question, ‘What is the worst that can happen to us?’ Answer: ‘We will see God!’ Believers have a glorious tear-free destiny! He tackles Hebrews 12:4-13 which has caused some Christians to feel suffering is a result of divine punishment. ‘No!’ he replies. It is not about punishment but about training in godliness, that is, ‘suffering is God’s training camp.’ He offers threefold advice for when difficulties occur: first cling to God’s character, second pray out your pain (Jeremiah 3:2-3), and third lean on God’s people. The last he illustrates by an experience of his wife.
‘Years back, she battled a dark cloud of depression… difficult for the wife of a pastor. She is expected to radiate joy and overcome setbacks. To her credit, she went to church one day aware that her depression was suffocating her. She armed herself with honesty. ‘If people ask me how I am doing, I’m going to tell them.’ So she answered each ‘how are you’ with a candid ‘not well. I’m depressed. Will you pray for me?’ The result? Casual chats became long conversations. Brief hellos became heartfelt moments of ministry… she had… a dozen people to hold her up in prayer. She traced her healing from depression to that Sunday morning service. She found God’s presence amid God’s people.’
On forgiveness, he writes, ‘it is hurt people who hurt people.’ When you are hurt, remember God fixes the evil. For example, he humbled Judah. We for our part are to endure and forgive. He counsels a specific grieving parent ‘your future with your (deceased) child is infinitely greater than your past with her.’ There are chapters on ‘The value of a heart attack’, ‘Waiting on God’, an apologetic for ‘The problem of pain’ and much more. All in all this is a book that is faithful, pastoral and very readable. A useful end section gives study questions for each chapter.