“And in Your eyes I can see/ And in Your arms I will be/ I am not just a man, vastly lost in this world/ Lost in a sea of faces.”- Kutless
“What is man that your are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings, and crowned him with glory and honor.”- Psalm 6:4-5
Pastor Adam Dietrich passionately taught and defended the Christian faith as he taught Christian doctrine to countless Luther South students from 1964-1997. In addition, Pastor Dietrich faithfully served as Interim Pastor at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Hodgkins, IL, from 1976-2011. As a student in his doctrine class, I found Pastor Dietrich to be firm in his beliefs. Yet, he balanced that with compassion for each student. Furthermore, he relished a good theological challenge!
Through his daughter Annie, I asked Pastor two questions about his teaching approach.
Question 1: What did you see when you looked out on that impressionable sea of faces?
Answer: Some wonderful kids waiting to be taught.
Question 2: What did you hope to communicate to your students?
Answer: In whatever class I was teaching- business or religion- Christ alone!
When Joseph arrived in Egypt (Genesis 39), his world bottomed out for the second time. Once again, he found himself on the auction block. His status as Jacob’s favorite son gone, Joseph now lived in a foreign environment and culture. He didn’t speak the language. Lost in a sea of faces- the odds against him.
Yet, as Max Lucado notes in You’ll Get Through This, at this point Joseph’s story parts company with self-help papyri and secret-to-success formulas that direct the struggling soul to discover inner peace (“dig deeper”). Joseph’s story exhorts us to “look higher.”
As Pastor Lucado encourages, “Make God’s presence your passion. . . . Be more sponge and less rock.” Placing a rock in the ocean gets the surface wet, perhaps changing its color. But, the interior of the rock remains unchanged. However, when you place a sponge in the ocean, the water penetrates every pore, altering the essential nature of the sponge.
Therefore, “open every pore of your soul to God’s presence (Max).” If you feel lost in a sea of faces, know that Joseph’s story doesn’t just focus on God being with Joseph. Dr. Tony Evans (Detours) observes that Joseph also was with God (emphasis Dr. Evans’).
Dr. Evans adds that a sponge only lets out exactly what you put into it. As a result, fill every pore of your soul with the promises contained in God’s Word. Then, when life’s pressures threated to cave you in, everyone will witness “how much of God comes out (Tony Evans).”