Do you have a rough life situation that by all appearances is permanent? Are you fighting with that situation tooth and nail? How do you make peace with a less than pleasant situation to maintain sanity and rest? How do you not succumb to anger and bitterness? If God is in control and He is, who are we getting angry and bitter toward?? I know. OUCH!!!
This new normal of mine has been tough for me. In the last post, I think I may have sounded like I had just settled happily into it. It has not been quite that way, but knowing what you are dealing with can give a semblance of peace. So in that, I did find “settling in” easier to do. I did not seem to have a choice so fighting it was futile.
What God has planned for us is what we will or need to gravitate toward. I believe that my lack of energy and having to quit my job with no hope of being able to hold down another one helps me to focus on what God wants me focused on: My family and ministry through this devotional and in my church. That really helps me settle in.
Joseph, Son of Jacob
I am reminded of the life of Joseph, the son of Jacob. We find the account of Joseph’s life in Genesis in chapters 37 and then 39 through 50. Joseph was a bit of a pill for his eleven older brothers to deal with. He was the favorite of Jacob’s sons and he had dreams that led him, his brothers, and even his father to believe that he envisioned them one day bowing down to him. Saying that this did not set well with his brothers would be a huge understatement. So in frustration that bordered on hatred, they sold him into slavery and the slave traders took him to Egypt.
Slave to Ruler
Joseph found great favor and success in Egypt but still ended up in trouble more than once. In the end, he was second in power only submitting to Pharaoh himself! It is a wonderful story of God’s loving care, His power, and His sovereignty not only for Joseph but for the entire Israelite people! I hope you will take time soon to read this wonderful account of the life of Joseph. For today though, I am going to pull out a few passages that show how God used Joseph and dealt with his heart.
Genesis 41:50-52 ESV
Before the year of famine came, two sons were born to Joseph. Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera priest of On, bore them to him. Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh. “For,” he said, “God has made me forget all my hardship and all my father’s house.” The name of the second he called Ephraim, “For God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.”
Settling in to God’s Will
Joseph could have spent the 13+ years in Egypt seething in anger and bitterness for which some would say he was justified. However, he did not do that. He let it go and settled
Genesis 45:4-8 ESV
So Joseph said to his brothers, “Come near me, please.” And they came near. And he said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are yet five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. And God sent me before you to preserve a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt.
Please do not think that I equate myself with Joseph. I absolutely do not! But I do see God working things out that could be taken in a negative way and that I could make me frustrated, angry and bitter. Instead, God has given me peace and for that I am so very grateful.
Romans 8:28 comes to mind:
And we do know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.
Note: This verse is directed toward Christian believers who love God.
Big Picture vs A Glimpse
As God brings His will to pass and involves us in it, every single part of it is not going to feel good or be fun. However, we can know and trust that He is in control and that He is not hanging us completely out to dry. He sees the big picture and we only see a glimpse. Because we only see glimpses, we must learn to take things one step at a time, following His lead. As we move through the situation and get to see it from a new angle, things will most likely make more sense.
Things to Ponder:
- What is your challenging situation: an ill loved one? your own illness? a terrible work situation? financial struggle? living with depression?
- Is this challenge a part of God’s plan for you? Is He using it to make you what He wants you to be? Are you fighting Him or surrendering to Him? Tough questions, I know. Sometimes we cannot answer them either.
- Can you trust God in your situation, make peace with Him about it, and rest in Him?
- I pray that both you and I will take it one day at a time – because tomorrow God may give us a whole new angle on the situation and everything might just make perfect sense.