Monday, August 19, 2013

Dealing With Despair Caused by Others 8/19/2013

"Joseph named the firstborn Manasseh, 'For,' he said, 'God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.' He named the second Ephraim, 'For,' he said, 'God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.'” Gen 41:51-52

It is difficult to think of Joseph without thinking of both tragedy and triumph. From a very early age, he was hated by his brothers. Those same brothers thought to kill him but instead sold him into slavery, thus removing him from every one and everything he knew and loved. While in slavery he was falsely accused of attempted rape and thrown into prison. From there he was forgotten by someone whom he helped. But we also know that God was with him through it all and that ultimately, he was given a position of power and privilege whereby he was able to preserve the lives of many through a crippling famine, including the same family that did grievous harm to him.

Beloved, it is tragically unfortunate when we become devastated by others. This is multiplied exponentially when the wrong done to us is at the hands of close friends, loved ones and especially, family. Sadly, none of us are immune to the possibility of very hurtful and harmful things happening to us through the agency of those with whom we are the most familiar. But if there is anything we can learn from the experiences of Joseph is that as children of God, we are never alone. Through the worst of our trials, our Heavenly Father is right there.

Some may ask why He would allow us to endure such pain. Far be it from me to provide THE answer for such a question. We know that God's ways and thoughts are much higher than ours (Isaiah 55:9). But in the case of Joseph, God was not only sustaining him through these unearned difficulties, He was using them to prepare Joseph for a great work that would preserve the people of God from which we today are spiritually descended. Further, Joseph did not know the end of the story while he was in the middle of it. It may be that he was filled with despair at times, but over and over he gives God the glory and never seems to lose his faith.

Pain surely hurts. It is not unusual to want to throw up your hands and just give up. But I beseech you beloved, that when the night falls, that is the time to hold even more closely to God. He has already written the end of your story, so remain faithful that He will deliver you, learn all you can from the situation you are in, and when the opportunity presents itself to do some good because of it, take it with all of your energy, even if those who hurt you benefit. Consider the words and actions of Joseph on the other side of his suffering: "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. So therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones. So he comforted them and spoke kindly to them," Genesis 50:20-21.



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