I love children’s Bible story books. Books like The Jesus Storybook Bible , by Sally Lloyd-Jones, and the Read Aloud Bible Stories, by Ella Lindvall, do such a good job of distilling the biblical accounts into a form that speaks to not-so-young me!
Our kids all grew up on the Read Aloud Bible Stories, and now we get to enjoy them along with our grandchildren. We call them the “Step-Step Books,” because the phrase “step, step, step” appears over and over in the stories. We still love the bold illustrations and the terse, child-like text.
I was reading the story of Joseph recently with my little Ruby and Virginia:
Joseph was happy when his daddy gave him a pretty coat. His brothers weren’t happy.
Joseph was happy on the road to find his brothers tending the sheep. His brothers weren’t happy when they saw him coming.
Joseph’s brothers let some men on camels take him away with them. They took him to a far-away place. “Was Joseph happy?” the text reads. “No, but God was there. And God helped him.”
Joseph worked for a soldier in the far-away place. “Was Joseph happy? No, but God was there. And God helped him.”
The soldier put Joseph in jail. “Was Joseph happy? No, but God was there. And God helped him.”
Later Joseph worked for the king. “Was Joseph happy? No, but God was there. And God helped him.”
Eventually Joseph’s father and brothers and all the rest of his relatives came to live in Egypt with him. “Now do you think Joseph was happy?” the text asks. God had used Joseph’s suffering to save his whole family!
We don’t always know what God is doing. Sometimes, from our limited perspective, it doesn’t look like life is making sense, and sometimes it doesn’t look very much like God loves us. Sometimes we’re just not very happy. But God is there, and He will help us. Nothing separates us from His love, and He is bigger than any trial He takes us through.
We can still have joy, even while we’re not happy.
He is there, and He will help us. How amazing is that?!