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Monday, December 17, 2007

I Can Do ALL Things...

This week's study in our Sunday school curriculum has already gotten my attention and it is only Monday! We are studying Joseph in Genesis 40 and the fact that he was Pharaoh's lead man until he was framed by Potiphar's wife and put in prison.

Two principles have really made me sit up and take notice:

1) Joseph practiced greatness in the pit before he practiced greatness publicly
2) Joseph never complained in his circumstance

The story is probably very familiar. Joseph was at the top of the food chain in many ways. He was the favorite of twelve brothers. He recieved a special coat and favor from their father, Israel, but was despised by the brothers and sold into slavery. Once a slave he became the top slave and was over the king's household. He was tricked by Potiphar's wife, who wanted to sleep with him, and was thrown into prison once the woman lied about his intent to harm her. Once in prison he became the head of the prison. Once out of prison he was placed over Pharoah's household and kingdom and eventually the world came to Joseph for help through a worldwide famine.

It seemed that no matter what the circumstance Joseph was destined for greatness. Over and over again the Bible says that the Lord was with Joseph.

Now, not everyone is destined for greatness. The Lord has a different plan for every person on this earth. Most times we are called to live "back stage". After all, not everyone can handle the fame. The question is how do we respond to the circumstances in which we find ourselves?

I must admit that I do not handle things so well at times. Sometimes I face things that I think are just unsurvivable, and then I will encounter someone who is dealing with MUCH more than I. Their attitude and faith in check. They are in the pit, but not living like it. They have risen above and depending on the Lord for their very breath, and I am put to shame!

The same God that lived and sustained Joseph is the very God that we know today. He is the same God who had a plan for Joseph's life and who brought Joseph out of that pit into a world power. Joseph's example of living his best, no matter what the circumstance, and not complaining in the mean time is something that challenges me to live above this life.

We do go through difficult seasons in our lives. Things do not go the way we planned. Our lives become complicated with relationships and job situations. Our health fails. Others fail us. We suffer disappointments and hard times seem that they will never end.

How do we CHOOSE to handle those seasons? It truly is a choice. We can choose to wallow in our difficulty or we can choose to trust that the Lord really does have a plan to work all things together for good. If we are walking with Him we must choose to believe that He can and will work in our lives to bring glory to His name. We may never understand His purpose or His plan, but trusting Him is not an option if we claim to know Christ.

A few years ago a precious friend of our family lost her daughter in a horrible car accident. A year later she lost her husband of over 25 years to a massive stroke. Their family had been very close and she was devistated. At her husband's funeral she stood at the door as we left the church. Obviously heartbroken and confused she said through her tears, "I am not angry at God. My family is gone, but He has a plan and I will praise Him. His purpose is higher than what I can understand." I was amazed at her strength.

Just last night my parents had dinner with her... and her new husband! The Lord brought a precious man who had lost his wife of 30 years to cancer. He, too, had been devistated. The Lord knew that these two could handle each other's grief because they had been there. They understand each other's emotions and He has used each of them to bring healing into the other's life. While this is NOT what either of them would have chosen for their lives and while each of them hurt everyday for their loss, they chose to trust the Lord and to walk with Him through their circumstance. What a testimony!

Lord, in my pursuit of You help me to see that You really do have my best in mind. Help me to see the situations that I face as lessons that need to be learned. Lord, sustain me. Help me to trust you with all that I have and all that I am. My situations seem unbearable sometimes, but I know that with You I can do all things. Thank you for the life of Joseph and for the example that he set to live an excellent life in private first! Before we can live it in front of others we must live it in front of YOU!

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