Eight months ago, I was in Hyderabad, India! I met a man there that I will never forget. He had a shaved head, and he had scars, both were the results of an angry mob that attacked him and violently abandoned him to die in the middle of nowhere. I was shocked at the horror of what he faced, and yet amazed by his strength and courage. This man was a pastor from Orissa, India; a region where widespread persecution of Christians had recently exploded. I am not sure I had ever stood face to face with a man who had suffered so much, yet remained so faithful and full of hope. I liked what I saw!
This man reminded me of Joseph, you may know the story, it’s found in Genesis 37-50. I will not go into details, you can read it for yourself, but Joseph faced a series of trials and abuses in life yet continued to believe that God was in control of his life and trust God that God had a purpose and a plan through all the crap!
Joseph said things like…
Genesis 45: 5 And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. 6 For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will not be plowing and reaping. 7 But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.
Genesis 50: 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
Joseph was sold into slavery, unjustly imprisoned, and then abandoned in prison for years. However, we can see from the verses above that Joseph realized that what seemed to be obstacles in his life, God used as the greatest opportunities. God saved many from starvation through Joseph, God reunited a family through this, and now here we are thousands of years later and through the years God has inspired similar things throughout history on account of this story.
We like Joseph may face obstacles and we have a choice to make, whether we will respond by seeking revenge, becoming bitter, questioning God, or will we trust him even still. The first responses are the easiest, they are the ones that often align best with what we are ‘feeling’. However, the question remains are they the best response, are they the right response?
Like Joseph, none of us can accurately predict what God is doing in the middle of our storm, but God himself promises that we can still trust him. He is still a God who passionately loves us and is working out good (Romans 8:28, Jeremiah 29:11).
So what’s your problem? Feeling abandoned and alone? God will never leave you or forsake you! Finances have you consumed with worry? God is our provider, seek Him first and do not worry! Even in the midst of the storm, we are in the palm of his hand! I cannot promise you what the outcome looks like. Sometimes I am overwhelmed and my heart almost breaks when I think about what ‘may’ happen to my daughter, the possibilities are endless and some of them horrible. Nevertheless, today I must choose to trust God, to remind myself of who He is and all His promises. Today, may all of us who are facing storms in life choose to hear these words, God can turn your greatest obstacles into the greatest opportunities, for his glory!