When God had these men, these people, in His hands with the thought always in His mind of bringing out by means of them this great testimony of Life overcoming and vanquishing death, He never told them what He was doing and very often He never told them that He was doing anything.
All that they knew was that they had come into some relationship with God, God had become the great reality in their lives. Somehow or other between Him and their inner being a strong link had been formed, a strong tie had been created that they were somehow bound up with Him and He with them, and that their destiny hung upon that relationship.
Beyond that, more than that, very often they knew little. It was a strong hold upon them inwardly.
Sometimes they were more conscious of it; at other times they were less conscious of it. And I repeat, although they were going through such big, and to them very real and deep and often terrible experiences.
God did not tell them what He was doing, and I say again: He very often did not tell them He was doing anything. That is, of course, the place where the whole principle of faith was found.
They were called upon in their relationship with God to believe without any explanation and believe without any sensation; just to believe God.
The death - for it was that really in principle - the death into which they were repeatedly plunged and which demanded resurrection and nothing short of a resurrection, so often and usually took some form that did not seem to contain a great spiritual meaning.
It was just an experience. It was very real and very terrible, but it did not always seem to circle round some great spiritual issue.
It often seemed more to be as though God had forgotten them. At some times they felt that God had abandoned them and everything seemed to say that. The things seemed to say that.
You remember the prophet puts those words into the mouth of Israel...
Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from the Lord, and the justice due to me is passed away from my God? Isa. 40:27.
You look into the lives of these men and you find it was often like that. There was no evidence at the time that they were being very, very carefully thought of by God, and that He was really with them.
We were speaking about Joseph. Up until the time that the word of the Lord came and Pharaoh sent and brought him up out of the dungeon, until that time there was no evidence that the Lord was with him.
Indeed, he might well have concluded that he was forgotten, out of mind, abandoned, forsaken.
And yet the one thing that is said about Joseph, not only at the time when he came up into the place of resurrection and exaltation, but throughout - "The Lord was with him".
If you had told Joseph that, he would have said, Well, there is not much proof of it and not much evidence.
The language that might well have expressed the feelings of these men would have been formed of such words as 'misfortune', 'fate', 'my fate', or, in modern language 'bad luck', or 'strange calamity'. "There seems to be some evil design back of my life, nothing seems to go right".
That is the human side, and such language, if looked at only from that side, was justifiable. It was like that.
These men were writing a story, a story composed of happenings, and most of the happenings were unfortunate happenings from the human standpoint, and they had not a clue to the meaning of the story.
It is we who have the sequel. Most of them did not get the sequel to their story. "These all died in faith, not having received the promises" (Heb. 11:13).
They did not know the meaning of the story they were writing. It was a story of happenings which to them had at most a very limited explanation. Yes, we have the sequel, the sequel is ours in many cases.
It often seemed to those men, I am sure, that some evil destiny had got them into a trap and there was no way out.
Look at them, call them to mind.
~T. Austin Sparks~