BATHOSLately for whatever reason I've been reading, listening, and thinking about trials. I know, it's not the most uplifting topic to be meditating on but perhaps God is speaking to me. This past weekend I even preached on it as I started a new series in the book of James. You can listen to the sermon Possibilites & Perseverance here.
We live in an age of uncertainty, nothing is secure. Regardless how stable you think your job is, it really isn't. Not simply because you may be layed off but because you could get sick, hurt or both and then not be able to do whatever it is you do.
I listened to a sermon today on the story of Joseph in Genesis (interestingly enough I didn't know what it was about and when I heard it said wow when I realized it was on Joseph). Now if you remember the story of Joseph he went through some trials to say the least. First he gets sold by his brothers, he becomes a slave, then he gets falsely accused by Potiphers wife, then ends up in prison, he hopes the cup bearer will remember him when he gets out of prison but doesn't! What's amazing though is what the Bible says after Joseph was thrown into prison (again undeservedly!): "But while Joseph was there in the prison, the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden." (Gen. 39:20,21)
Now I don't know about you but at this point I would've rather God showed favor to me by not allowing me to be sold into slavery by my brothers to begin with! Make no mistake about it Joseph was not happy to be in prison (read Gen. 40:14, 15) Joseph was no different than us he wasn't particularly enjoying going through his trials. I would even venture to say that he wasn't joyful as James 1:2 calls us to be as we go through all kinds of troubles.
Yet here comes one text within the story of Joseph that can perhaps bring into question your theology and/or ideology of God's interaction in the sphere of our lives. In the end of the narrative of the story of Joseph he ends up telling his brothers: "..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." (Gen. 45:5)
What!? Truly incredible, maybe that's why even Paul says, "We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." (Rom. 8:28)
Whatever trial you may be going through, or will go through (because it's truly not a matter of 'if' but 'when') hopefully you can remember Joseph, that in all his trials God was with him and at the end those trials had a purpose beyond even Josephs wildest dreams.
Perhaps then as you go through your trials this year, remember that maybe, just maybe, after it's all said and done you will look back and say, "In all things God works for the good of those who love Him!" Because as with Joseph God had a purpose far beyond your wildest dreams. What that is at this moment we may have no idea, but remember that hindsight is always 20/20...
If I knew back then what I know now
If I understood the what , when , why and how
Now it's clear to me
What I should have done
But hindsight is 20/20 vision
- excerpts from 20/20 by George Benson
If you feel comfortable leave a comment on my blog so that I can pray for you as you go through your trials! (if you get this via email click Bathos at the bottom)
photo by [eric austria]