What do you do when you are going through unfair treatment and are facing a challenging life situation that is nearly too difficult to bear?
What do you do?
What do you do when you are struggling for destiny and feel that your life has been put on hold?
What do you do?
What do you do when bitterness threatens to cloud your ability to worship and to feel God’s presence?
What do you do?
I can only tell you what I do … I go to the Bible. I go digging for gold among the sacred pages of the Word of God.
Often in these moments – God will remind me of the life story of a man or a woman in the Bible who faced similar circumstances to mine.
The Bible reminds me that I am not alone and that God will always write the end of my story.
Can I share with you in some bite-size pieces one of my very favorite Bible stories?
Trust me … you will never be the same.
I have always loved the story of Joseph in the Old Testament. I love knowing that he was a dreamer and that he kept a pure heart through all of life’s trials.
I love knowing that God used him in spite of being separated from his family and thrown into an Egyptian prison.
I love knowing that Joseph was a young man who wasn’t swayed by sexual temptation.
“She caught him by his garment, saying, ‘Lie with me!’ And he left his garment in her hand and fled, and went outside.’” – Genesis 39:12
I love knowing that even the world saw greatness in him even when he was just a lowly servant.
“Whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant.” -Mark 10:43
I love knowing that the Lord was with him every day of his life.
“The Lord was with Joseph so he became a successful man.” – Genesis 39:2
I love knowing that the Lord’s presence was so obvious in him that everyone else saw it as well.
“Now his master saw that the Lord was with him and how the Lord caused all that he did to prosper in his hand.” – Genesis 39:3
I love knowing that Joseph heard from God even when he was in prison.
I love knowing that Joseph always gave God glory for his wisdom.
“Joseph then answered Pharaoh, saying, ‘It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer.’” – Genesis 41:16
I love knowing that Joseph brought answers to his culture when no one else could.
“So Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘Since God has informed you of all this, there is no one so discerning and wise as you are.’” – Genesis 41:39
I love knowing that Joseph was able to move past the pain that his family had caused him.
“God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.’” – Genesis 41:51
I love knowing that Joseph gave God glory and honor when he was the beneficiary of God’s abundant blessings.
“God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.” – Genesis 41:52
I love knowing that Joseph was kind to his brothers even though they had been cruel and judgmental toward him.
“Joseph took portions to them from his own table, but Benjamin’s portion was five times as much as any of theirs. So they feasted and drank freely with him.” – Genesis 43:34
I love knowing that Joseph wasn’t bitter because of the way his family had treated him but knew that God had been working in his story the entire time.
“Now do not be grieved or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth and to keep you alive by a great deliverance.
Now therefore it was not you who sent me here but God.” – Genesis 45:5, 7 and 8a
I love knowing that Joseph not only forgave his brothers but he blessed his brothers.
“Do not concern yourselves with your goods, for the best of all the land of Egypt is yours.” – Genesis 45:20
I love knowing that Joseph had a rare and beautiful perspective on his life in spite of all of his difficulties.
“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.” – Genesis 50:20
But the part of Joseph’s story that speaks to me the loudest is revealed when Joseph was only 17 years old. He had been mocked by his brothers, stripped of his tunic and thrown into a waterless pit.
Have you ever felt like that? Have you ever felt that no one cares about you … that you have been stripped of dignity and of destiny … and that you have been tossed aside to die?
Then, if that wasn’t enough pain for one young man to endure, his brothers sold him into slavery! They sold him to a people group who couldn’t wait to get top dollar for this young, strong, good-looking boy.
Joseph had been betrayed and belittled by his brothers and then he had been purchased by the enemy.
Now … here comes the verse that never fails to wrap its meaning around my betrayed and belittled soul.
“Meanwhile, the Midianites sold him in Egypt to Potiphar, Pharaoh’s officer, the captain of the bodyguard.” – Genesis 37:36
Meanwhile … meanwhile … meanwhile.
When his brothers betrayed him … God was working in the meanwhile.
When he was sold into slavery … God had not forgotten him in the meanwhile.
While his father was mourning him … God was with him in the meanwhile.
And sometimes a meanwhile can be a mighty mean while!
In all of our lives there is a meanwhile.
In all of our lives there is a meanwhile when we don’t see the hand of God working on our behalf but you can be sure that He is working.
The God of Joseph is the God of you! You are not forgotten and you have not been tossed aside. The enemy will not have the last say in your life!
The story of Joseph is an astounding story of God’s presence, God’s sovereign goodness and God’s ability to work all things together for good.
If you are in a meanwhile season today … take heart! God’s goodness will write the end of your story.
He did it for Joseph and He will do it for you!
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28
Joseph was called according to the purpose of God … and so are you!
Thanks for listening to my heart this week. As you know by now, my heart is truly not a perfect heart but it is a heart that is filled to overflowing with gratitude for the life I have been given and for the people who walk with me. And, it continues to be a heart that is relentlessly chasing after God and all that He is!