Five short chapters later…

Daily Readings: Genesis 37-41, Psalm 16

I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.
I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

-Psalm 16:7-8

Keeping our eyes always on the Lord can be easier said than done at times in our lives. Declaring that we will not be shaken regardless of what comes, knowing that God is always there at our right hand to counsel us, can be incredibly challenging!

One of the best stories throughout the entire Bible that illustrates this is found in Genesis today when looking at the life of Joseph. Talk about a rollercoaster!

Throughout the course of five chapters we see some amazing drama unfold. Joseph is his father’s favorite son. Then, out of jealousy, his brothers sell him into slavery. God has a different plan, however, and Potiphar puts Joseph in charge over his entire household. This doesn’t last long. Soon Potiphar’s wife is trying to seduce Joseph. When he refuses, she lies about Joseph attempting to rape her and has him thrown in prison. God is still with Joseph and the warden eventually puts Joseph in charge of the prison. After miraculous dream interpretations from God, Joseph is let out of prison and put in charge of all of Egypt, second only to Pharaoh!

Joseph’s story truly is the stuff that movies are made from. Challenges, high points, devastating plot twists, and eventually redemption. There is an inspiring theme throughout the story of Joseph that applies to our life as well.

God wants to use your story, no matter how bad it looks, to further his plan for your life. Whether the adversity you face was God ordained for a specific purpose, or simply self-inflicted based on our own choices; God will use those challenges to advance his story and serve others if we allow him to.

The hard part is remaining patient as God does his miraculous work of redeeming our story. It is easy to read the story of Joseph for 10-15 minutes, over the course of 5 chapters, and say, “Wow. Look at the faithfulness of God!”

It is easy to scan over the following verses without even thinking about them:

Joseph, a young man of seventeen, was tending the flocks with his brothers

Some time later 

When two full years had passed, Pharaoh had a dream

Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt…

This entire short story for us was anything but short for Joseph. As soon as things began looking up, immediately the next shoe fell. Over and over and over again. This wasn’t 13 days or even 13 months; it was 13 years!

I try to put myself in Joseph’s shoes. I think about the last time we see him made to wait in this story. Joseph gives the cupbearer good news about his dream and simply asks that he talk to Pharaoh on his behalf once the cupbearer is restored to his former position. Joseph must have been sitting there that day when the cupbearer was restored, eagerly awaiting the call for him to be released from prison. Finally! After years in slavery and then prison, I am going to get out!

That day passes, and the next one, and the next one…

Eventually the cupbearer remembers Joseph and, only a chapter later, Joseph interprets Pharaoh’s dream, is released from prison, and in charge of all of Egypt!

One chapter for us was a two-year wait for Joseph.

How patient are we with God’s story? How do we respond when we are in the midst of the slavery chapter in our lives? Where do we fix our eyes when waiting in our own personal prison for longer than we would like?

Often in my own life when going through challenges I try to maintain the perspective that God is going to use this for his glory in some way. This trial will allow me to minister to others in the future who are dealing with similar challenges as I am facing right now.

It is a comforting thought. However, more often that not, I want to pass quickly through the prison phase and get the part where I am in charge of all of Egypt! I want to fast forward God’s plan. I want to skip ahead.

Whatever you are facing right now or whatever trials you face in the future, God can use them to advance his plan. He can use them to have a powerful impact in the lives of others. He can redeem them for his glory. Our job is to release control, trust in his timing, and keep our eyes fixed firmly on him.

Thought to ponder

How could God use previous challenges in my life to advance his kingdom and to serve others?

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