Today I have the privilege of participating in the funeral ceremony of a dear lady in our church who passed away yesterday morning. Her favorite Bible character was Joseph, so I spent some time this morning reflecting on the life of Joseph and his courage and integrity despite cruel treatment. In the little amount of time I got to know Gail Kohl, I could see the same Joseph-like courage in her. When I visited her in the hospital on Thursday of last week, and she was cheerful and coherent, expressing her trust in God’s goodness.
When we see courage, joy and integrity in the face of suffering, our natural response is to ask why–why could someone give a genuine smile when in pain and suffering? It’s no secret that Gail, like Joseph, was convinced that God’s purposes are always good. When Joseph’s brothers feared that he would take revenge for mistreating him, he told them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good” (Genesis 50:19-20). Everyone has a song that rings out from their lives. It may have different stanzas or variations, but the same theme. Gail’s was this: God is so good. He’s so good to me.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.