Jacob journeyed to Egypt with his sons to reunite his whole family. What a turn of events! He had God’s promise “Joseph’s own hands shall close your eyes.” (verse 4).

I think I have some idea how stimulating this promise was for Jacob, how it inspired hope within him.

How painful it is for parents who have to bury their children. Having a son with sickle cell disease, I must admit my own anxieties there. Even as I write, I recall the time when his son was hospitalised with meningitis, a season when 3 children in the same island had perished from this spate of infections. He must have been under tremendous pressure, because by the time my grandson was released from hospital, his Dad had to be admitted for another sickle cell crisis.

I also recall a season when our family faced the stress of my daughter being ill, tottering between life and death.

There have been many episodes, and while my children remain alive, so that I cannot claim to know how it feels to bury one’s own child, I share my anxieties.

I fully understood, I think, my father-in-law’s reservations about me becoming a minister. He had no problem with ministry. He was, himself, a fully accredited lay preacher. The problem he foresaw was that I was becoming an itinerant minister, in which case, his son would travel to other places with me, and possibly be absent during his closing years, and not around to bury him. I honoured his openness and fully understood why he abstained from voting on my acceptance.

As the Lord would have it, his son was very present and working at home during his closing years. I was away on study leave, and happened to be home, too, during that time. I was one of the ministers sharing in the Thanksgiving Service for his life! God is full of surprises.

So full of surprises is God, that while Pharaoh sent wagons to carry Jacob’s clan of seventy persons to Egypt, their shepherding way of life would make them abhorrent to the Egyptians (Verse 34). But even that was worked into God’s plan, for it gave them access to the land of Goshen which was ideally suited their needs.

Know for sure that God has a surprise to beat your wildest expectations. You and I cannot see around the bend, but our all-knowing God has the future in his hands.

  1. You have all my future in your hands, in your hands
    I bid you take over all my life, Lord.
    My dreams, aspirations, all my best, Jesus, Lord.
    My hopes, my fears, in your hands.

In your hands, Lord, I place today, tomorrow.
In your hands, Lord, I surrender all.
In your hands, I commit my joys, my sorrows;
In your hands, Lord, I surrender all.

  1. Keep walking beside me every night, every day;
    And giving me courage for the fray, Lord.

I need you to guide me every step of the way,
Forsake me not, Lord, I pray.

  1. You place many duties in my hands, in my hands;
    And shaping my world is my task, Lord,
    On you I depend, Lord, for the power; this I ask
    That all make sense in my hands.


  1. So Lord, I am trusting everything to your hands,
    And then I keep praying for our land, Lord
    To labour with others for the best, Jesus, Lord,
    Our all I place in your hands


Allan F. Kirton, 194-2010