I love books with a lot of tension on the page - books that make you grip them a little harder than others, books that make you hold your breath.
I love the Bible for that very reason. There are so many stories in it that do all of the above. The story of Joseph, for instance, especially the scene where his brothers come before him in Egypt to beg for food, not knowing this man is the brother they betrayed. The tension on that page is palpable. What will Joseph do? Has he forgiven them or will he punish them and get his revenge at last? And the tension is drawn out as he plays games with them, throws them in jail, tells them to leave and come back again, tells them not to return without their youngest brother. (A lot of lessons for a writer to learn here). Through it all we wonder what God is doing, how this drama will play out and how God will be glorified. Even when we know the end of the story, it makes us hold our breath.
My husband preached on this passage a while ago, and talked a bit about the tension - this is a short excerpt -
"The disguise of grace promises that one day there will be a great reveal. It’s what makes the tension grow in this story, the anticipation of what it will be like when the brothers finally know who he is, when the father is finally reunited with the son that was lost. All these are prompts to us of an even greater day of revealing. Every act of disguised grace here below has the purpose in it of knowing the author of this grace for who He really is, of being brought close to the Father. The Great Reveal is coming soon."
There has been a great deal of tension in the world lately, a great deal of drama. Many who are watching are grasping onto material things a little harder, hoping they won't slip away. Many are holding their breath as they wonder what's going to happen.
But, like the story of Joseph and many others in the Bible, we know what's in the last chapter. We know God's grace and mercy will be revealed. We know He will be glorified, whatever happens. Because, as my husband said - "He who lived His life mostly in a disguise of grace, was revealed through the resurrection as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords."
Psalm 33 says it so well - "Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the people of the world revere Him. For he spoke and it came to be; he commanded and it stood firm. The Lord foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples. But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations. Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance. From heaven the Lord looks down and sees all mankind; from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth - he who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do. No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength. A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save. But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine. We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in hi holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you." (Psalm 33:8-22).