- Genesis 39:20
The paradox that is Joseph's life is fascinating.
- Joseph is wrongly imprisoned yet still confides in God.
- Joseph is enslaved yet still free in many ways.
- Joseph’s life is unfortunate, yet he is still a child of fortune.
- Joseph is abandoned by everyone he knows, yet stands firm in the severest temptations.
- Joseph is alone yet still in the presence of God.
- Joseph is the object of impending wrath yet still perseveres.
- Joseph is a prisoner of the state, yet himself a prison-keeper.
The paradoxical theme of Joseph's life underlies all of Christianity. Think about it, everywhere we turn, there is paradox:
We become rich thru Christ's poverty (2 Corinthians 8:9)
We live by losing our life (Mark 8:34-35)
We see the unseen (2 Corinthians 4:18, Hebrews 11:27)
We conquer by yielding (Romans 6:16-18)
We find rest by taking His yoke (Matthew 11:28-30)
We reign by serving (Mark 10:42-44)
We are first by becoming last (Mark (9:35)
We are made great by becoming little (Luke 9:48)
We become wise by being fools for Christ's sake (1 Corinthians 1:20-21)
We find victory by glorying in our weaknesses (2 Corinthians 12:5)
Christianity isn't a theology built on tidy eithers and ors.
When compared to other religious systems, Christianity is uniquely hospitable to paradox, a promoter of the both and and.
This is what led theologian GK Chesterton to see paradox as the sharp edge on which much of God's truth could be found: "Whenever we feel there is something odd in Christian theology, we shall generally find that there is something odd in the truth."
There is a good lesson here; don't be too quick to resolve tension between two seemingly contradictory ideas.
Sometimes the answer is more "both/and."
After all, God has a kind of preference for paradox—God often chooses and.
God is immanent and transcendent; merciful and just; mysterious and knowable.
In the person of Jesus Christ, the great I AM became the great I And, never being less man than God or less God than man, he was both while clothing himself with humility, of which is a divine contradiction.
But, God would have it no other way; even salvation is a paradox, weakness as power, foolishness as wisdom.
Joseph knew something we should not forget: to live on the paradox is to love with God.
Paper Sunday is blessed to collaborate with Chris Harper on today's devotional!
Chris Harper is a speaker, writer, and disciple-maker. Chris is President of 252Edu, a consulting firm based in Dallas, Texas. Chris serves schools, churches, and non-profits by helping them "grow in wisdom, favor and stature with God and man.”
When not taking ground for King Jesus, you can find Chris on the basketball court playing a pick-up game. Chris is a sneakerhead, an avid reader, and loves a good cheeseburger. You can follow him @252consulting on Instagram.