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A Disturbing Question

It has been years ago since that Sunday morning at our church in Okmulgee, Oklahoma, but I still vividly remember the thought Butch’s mother shared with us.

Let me begin by refreshing your memories. You remember the thrilling story of Joseph and his brothers in the book of Genesis, Chapters 37-50. If you haven’t read it in a while, then find some time to sit down and be enthralled once again. This is what you would call a “real page-turner!”

At this point in the story Judah was literally on his knees begging the exalted leader of the Egyptian dynasty for the life of his youngest brother, Benjamin, not knowing that he was on his knees before his own brother, Joseph! (Joseph’s dream as an irritating little brother came to pass. Genesis 37:5-10) Joseph had bargained once before with his brothers as they came asking for food for their families during the devastating famine that had swept through the land.

“By this I shall know that you are honest men: leave one of your brothers (Simeon was chosen) with me and take grain for your households, and go. But bring your youngest brother (Benjamin) to me that I may know that you are not spies. I will give your brother back to you, and you may trade in the land.”

The ten brothers went home fearfully to relate Joseph’s demands to their father, Jacob. Now their food supply was gone, so they were going back to Egypt. They had finally convinced their father, Jacob, to allow his beloved son, Benjamin, to go with them to get food. Now that they were there with their younger brother, Joseph tricked them and his personal silver cup was found in the neck of Benjamin’s sack, placed there by Joseph’s steward. The penalty was that the culprit who had stolen the cup would be left as a slave of the Lord of the Land, Joseph.

The elder brother, Judah, made his dramatic plea, telling Joseph the words of his father, Jacob:

“My son shall not go down with you; for his brother Joseph is dead, and he alone is left. If harm should befall him on the journey you are taking, then you will bring my gray hair down to Sheol in sorrow.”

Judah finished his urgent appeal by saying, “How can I return unto my father if the lad is not with me?”

Silence. Butch’s Mom stopped talking.

After a lengthy pause she very slowly and deliberately repeated that question.

“How can I return to the Father if the child is not with me?”

Do you see why that question was indelibly burned into my mind? What a challenge for parents and I was a parent–a parent with three young sons. Oh, yes! I had been a Christian for years, but what about them? My fervent prayer became, “God, please show me how to guide my children to Jesus–how to make them see how much You love them–and all that You have done for them. Don’t let me be a stumbling block to them.”

That–as I said, happened years ago, but that question made quite an impact on one woman sitting in the rows of chairs that Sunday morning–Anabel. My goal was set.

“And for their sakes I consecrate myself,
that they also may be consecrated in truth.” John 17:19

About the Author

Anabel spent decades teaching in many contexts through Lifetime Guarantee Ministries. She has taught countless others how to have a genuine intimate faith and a sound marriage. She shared from her heart about living from the heart. Lifetime’s beloved founder and mentor passed away November 7, 2010. Her legacy and influence are timeless and priceless.