Talk about setbacks.
Jacob arrived in Egypt with twelve sons and their families, a total of seventy people; they brought with them all the accumulated wealth God had bestowed on Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and his sons. They were crazy rich.
By the time they reached a Pharaoh "who knew not Joseph," the savior of Egypt, they had squandered it all. The descendants of those seventy people--600,000 strong--were poor. So poor in fact, that they were slaves.
Questions stampede through my mind. Did poverty force them to sell themselves into slavery? Was it a political or military action? In that case, if they still had money, why hadn't they returned to Canaan? I can't help but think that they used it up along the way.
A definite change from the Patriarchs. When God finally gave them the population explosion promised to Abraham, He slowed down on the abundance of wealth.
I know things often work like that in my life. If I sign a book contract, an unexpected expense arises. When my daughter died, my second book was published. (You may not know that the second book is almost more important than the first, proving an author isn't a one-book wonder.) My mother died, and my grandson was born.
God gives--and He takes away. Often at the same time.
I used to wish I could experience a season of "giving" without worrying about the takeaway part. But I have decided that the trial makes the gift sweeter--and the gift definitely makes the trial easier to bear.
With Job I will say, "He gives and takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord."