God is not so much into our comfort than into our redemption. “Wow, okay, how is that supposed to encourage me right now”, I hear you say.
This week at Bible Study I was reminded again that God’s ways and thoughts are so much higher than mine. And try as I might, I just don’t understand everything that He does or allow. But, you know what, that is a good thing. As my pastor recently said: If we can understand and explain all the ways of God, wouldn’t that make us just as smart as God. Which would mean that God’s mind would be limited and small like ours. And who would want to serve a God like that?
When I look at Joseph’s story in the Bible I am amazed at his steadfastness, humility and ultimate trust in God. He starts off receiving awesome promises from God, dreams of greatness. I know we can all relate. I keep all the promises and prophecies I’ve received in a special place and think of them often. But then he gets thrown in a pit, sold as a slave, accused falsely, thrown into a dungeon. Then when he rises to power and receives all that God has promised and he is faced with the very brothers who betrayed and persecuted him; this is how he responds:
“But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. …. And God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you who sent me here, but God ~ Gen 45:5,7-8
What is he saying…that God meant for him to be enslaved, accused, imprisoned? Wow. God’s ways are so much higher than ours! How many of us would be bitter, angry and full of resentment after having suffered unjustly for such a long time. Yet here he stands with love and forgiveness towards his brothers and with absolute trust and Praise towards a God who saw and orchestrated the big picture. There he was, the one being bowed to, just like his dreams, but his heart was glad because God made a way for his family to be saved. Mind you , the very same family who did not understand him and ultimately rejected him.
This family survived, because of God’s plan with Joseph and not only survived, but thrived. And because they were blessed, a Saviour was born from the Jews generations later and here we are today, all who call themselves children of God, blessed by that heritage.
You know what stands out for me the most about Joseph’s story; the lack of regard for himself. He could so easily have fallen into a pit of self-pity, despair and hopelessness (which could be so much worse than a pit of mud and rocks) but instead he remained steadfast focusing on God, not men. On serving faithfully instead of losing hope. On maintaining integrity rather than blaming others. On saving others instead of saving himself.
And God was with Joseph.
But think of this, Joseph did not even have the Holy Spirit. In fact we have no evidence that God ever spoke to Joseph aside from the dreams he had when he was a boy and the dreams he interpreted (for others) Yet he walked by faith, fully trusting God all the days of his life.
Jesus never promised us a life without trouble (John 16:33) but He promised us Peace. He promised that He would never leave us or forsake us (Heb 13:5) He promised us the Holy Spirit, a Comforter, Helper and Guide, closer than a brother (John 16:7) He promised that He is for us, not against us (Rom 8:31) that He Himself will interceed for us (Rom 8:34) that we will be able to do anything through His strength (Phil 4:13) that we will be more than conquerors because of His love (Rom 8:37) that He will work everything in our lives together for His good purpose (Rom 8:28) and that nothing…. neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom 8:38,39)
Whatever is happening in your life today, in whatever you are facing, won’t you make a choice to look up today, into the face of your Loving Father and say to Him: “Lord, I admit that Your Ways are so much higher than mine. I’m okay with not always understanding what You allow. But right now, I surrender to Your ways and I choose to trust You”
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight
~ Prov 3:5-6