So I open the bible and flick to the topics department – already I see FUTURE written boldly. I jump over to the scripture Genesis 41:39-40
Verse 39 – Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has revealed the meaning of the dreams to you, clearly no one else is as intelligent or wise as you are.
Verse 40 – You will be in charge of my court, and all my people will take orders from you. Only I, sitting on my throne, will have a rank higher than yours.”
Joseph, the dreamer boy, knew where he was going to be from a young age but was ridiculed by his brothers and sold off to a foreign group of travellers heading east. His brothers hoped that Joseph and his dream would be forgotten – out of sight out of mind. Imagine, having such dream or vision about your future and some of the closest folks around you simply call you crazy. Personally, I can’t relate to that kind of experience, but I know what it’s like to be somewhere I’d rather not be.
The story of Joseph’s life found in the last chapters of Genesis unravels more “bad luck” for what of a better phrase on his behalf ending up in prison for some time and for something he didn’t do. But suddenly, God starts to show Joseph about that dream he had some years back. Joseph goes from slave to prisoner. But from prisoner to prime minister the shift happened suddenly, immediately. What a transition!
The footnote for this scripture says
‘Whatever your situation, no matter how undesirable, consider part of your training program[me] for serving God’ [New Living Translation]
Woah – training programme? Correct. To train means to ‘develop [to teach or to prepare for] a particular skill or type of behaviour through sustained practice and instruction [in some cases for a specific purpose].’ (Google dictionary)
So this season/situation I’m currently is just a part of a training exercise? No it’s not ‘just part of’ it’s all the things we go through are part of a bigger picture that God is working behind the scenes to get us to our individual destinations or the plans He has for our lives – just like Joseph.
How am I fairing in each situation? How I am coping? How I am dealing with it?
I know I have complained, moaned and complained so more. There are some times when I get reminded to be grateful but still, moaning about a situation doesn’t reflect Jesus in any way. Where’s the gift that Jesus gave to me? the gift of peace, why am I not remembering that instead of complaining? Writing this post has made me realise how it’s crucial to remind, meditate, chant, sing, reflect, regurgitate scripture daily, hourly even momentarily.
Still, that doesn’t neglect the realities of my situation – I am learning to deal with difficult people – real difficult people in an environment I’ve never experienced before. I suppose you have to go through the situation, reflect on it, and then take notes in how to deal with that situation differently in case it arrives at your door step again. I am learning that this situation may be – no – will be useful as a minister (by minister, I mean my lifestyle, not necessarily being a pastor, missionary etc.) and that people and places (situation/circumstances) aren’t always going to go my way because I want it to.
Joseph clearly didn’t have a choice in his situation either – he was flung in prison door bolted behind him and he just had to deal with it. Noticeably, he didn’t complain – or there is no record. The bible doesn’t hide the not-so-pleasant character traits of the person they’re writing about – just like we know that the Israelites grumbled, I’m sure we’d read if Joseph did.
Just like the Israelites were in the wilderness where they learned more about God, perhaps Joseph’s story is like a time-to-grow-alone-with-God stage or a “wilderness experience.” Moses also had a “wilderness experience” or simply put a time where God ‘hid’ him in order to grow, just like He did with Joseph.
Perhaps it is the same with me and you. Maybe I am in my situation…my “wilderness” learning to develop key life-survival skills that God wants to use to minister to folks who don’t know Him or are on the fence about trusting Him. Maybe it’s not just about how to get out of the wilderness as a lucky escape alive but to learn to cope with all the things the situation throws at me in order to grow spiritually and mentally.
Of course, there are times when I’m thinking ‘boy, I can’t keep taking on these daily battles. I need renewal, strength or something!’ But right there, I’ve began to depend on my own strength again. When did this walk with Christ become all about me?
For some reason I’ve taken a situation on worrying about it or getting out of it and Jesus is like
‘I’m supplying all you need – why are you worrying again?’
[Philippians 4:19 NASB And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus’]
In closing, I leave a few questions I ask myself. I also leave Psalm 91 a chapter that is based on God’s protection in the midst of uncertainty.
Are we taking notes of the situation we’re in? Will we be ready for a sudden transition from one season into another? How grateful are we in the current situation?
1 Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
he is my God, and I trust him.
3 For he will rescue you from every trap
and protect you from deadly disease.
4 He will cover you with his feathers.
He will shelter you with his wings.
His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
5 Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night,
nor the arrow that flies in the day.
6 Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness,
nor the disaster that strikes at midday.
7 Though a thousand fall at your side,
though ten thousand are dying around you,
these evils will not touch you.
8 Just open your eyes,
and see how the wicked are punished.
9 If you make the Lord your refuge,
if you make the Most High your shelter,
10 no evil will conquer you;
no plague will come near your home.
11 For he will order his angels
to protect you wherever you go.
12 They will hold you up with their hands
so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.
13 You will trample upon lions and cobras;
you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!
14 The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me.
I will protect those who trust in my name.
15 When they call on me, I will answer;
I will be with them in trouble.
I will rescue and honor them.
16 I will reward them with a long life
and give them my salvation.”
For the whole story of Joseph’s life Genesis chapters 37, and then 39-50