Photo by IB Wira Dyatmika on Unsplash
“As for you, you thought evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring about that many people should be kept alive, as they are this day.” Genesis 50:20 (Amplified Bible)
For months I’ve lost track of life mourning the fact that some situations can’t be redeemed this side of heaven.
Some pain can never be reversed can it?
Like the death of loved ones … a way of life … relationships.
I’ve spent days in bed with my bible just trying to get a word from the Lord that would pull me out of this funk.
The enemy has used the pain and my introverted tendencies … to tempt me in walking away from the church and community in general.
The Devil loves using pain and loss to persuade us that faithfulness doesn’t matter in light of our circumstances.
But the story of Joseph has been a great encouragement these last few months.
This story has it all – betrayal, loss, oppression, dysfunction, jealously, rejection, false accusations and bondage … the list goes on and on.
And every time Joseph was oppressed … falsely accused … rejected … the scripture reminds us that God was with him.
I recently read a story about Andrew Murray who was a beloved pastor and writer in England in the late 1800’s. He suffered from debilitating back pain as a result of an injury. As he was eating breakfast one morning, his maid came to tell him that a woman was downstairs in great distress and was seeking advice or encouragement. Murray handed his maid the piece of paper he had been writing on and said, “Give her this advice that I’m writing down for myself. It may be helpful to her too.”
The paper read:
“In time of trouble, say, ‘First, He brought me here. It is by His will I am in this strait place; in that I will rest.’ Next, ‘He will keep me here in His love, and give me grace in this trial to behave as His child.’ Then say, ‘He will make the trial a blessing, teaching me lessons He intends me to learn, and working in me the grace He means to bestow.’ And last, say, ‘In His good time He can bring me out again. How and when, He knows.’ Therefore, say ‘I am here (1) by God’s appointment, (2) in His keeping, (3) under His training, (4) for His time.”
When I read this story, I realized that Mr. Murray’s advice is the exact model that God used in Joseph’s life … over and over.
Amazingly … Joseph remained faithful in all things … good or bad.
As a result, God used him to save many lives … including the lives of the brothers who hated him … yet Joseph held no bitterness in his heart for his oppressors.
Trusting God with our pain and learning to walk in the fullness of His sovereignty … just like Joseph did … can lead us to our purpose in life … if we remain faithful.
Faithfulness matters … especially when our world has turned upside down.
So, let this truth seep into every crevice of your heart …
You are here by God’s appointment … kept under the shelter of his loving wings … for His instruction to grow … within His timing.
Oh, sweet friend with the broken heart …
God has a purpose for your pain … so trust Him and remain faithful.
And that’s the Big Picture that Joseph so wisely understood.