Have you ever been in a room where people are doing normal things and you feel so very not normal? It happened to me last night during choir practice. Let me explain.
We were practicing for our choir performances (on the 17th and the 21st at Pensacola First Church of the Nazarene). It was all pretty ordinary. But, my dear friend and sister-in-Christ made a casual comment about one of my blogs. What she said was wonderful and insightful and generous. Her words were not what made the evening unusual but they started me down a path I didn’t expect to travel.
There is a wonderful historical account in the Old Testament of Joseph and his brothers. A member of the tribe of Israel, Joseph was the eleventh of 12 brothers; and, he was hated by his older brothers for being their father’s favorite. When given the chance, the brothers sold Joseph to slave traders bound for Egypt and lied to their father saying that Joseph had been killed by a wild beast. In a moment, Joseph went from being the favorite son of a wealthy man to being a slave. Although as a slave he served his master well, he was falsely accused of sexual misconduct with the boss’ wife (that NEVER happens today, right?) and was wrongly imprisoned. Ever faithful, he served well in prison and was promoted to a position of leadership and eventually assigned to the personal service of the king. Joseph was such a skilled administrator and leader that he was given authority of all Egypt, second only to the king. When the region experienced famine, Joseph’s careful planning kept the people fed and increased the power and holdings of the king. When Joseph’s brothers needed grain, they were shocked to have to make their request to the brother that they thought was long gone. Seeing Joseph’s position, the brothers were fearful of what punishment Joseph would command.
But, Joseph’s reaction was not what they expected. He made the most astounding comment: “Do not be afraid, for am I not in God’s place? 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 50:19-21)
My friend’s comments made me remember how some challenges in my life prepared me for what I needed to be able to do later. As I sat in our choir room, people all around me singing songs of praise, I was overwhelmed by the love and mercy of God in my life. You see, what I sometimes saw as being bad were the very things that I needed to be of service later. What was hard for me to do made me stronger to carry heavier loads. What was terrible was really good. And, most importantly, what seemed to be totally out of control was always in God’s hands. You who know me well, will understand when I say that the reminder of this critical fact of faith caused me to weep quietly as the others sang.
It is only by faith that we can see the things that are not of this world.
Are you having a problem with faith? Then, look at a baby. We can see life and hope and a future that is not actually present in that little body. In that child, we see the promise of God.
Having a problem with faith? Then, look at an older believer. We cannot, through human minds, understand why hope reigns in their hearts and souls. But, we can see the love of God shine through their eyes and hear the song of the redeemed in their words.
Have faith. We may never understand the purpose of the struggles of today. But, God has a plan. And, His plan is always based on His unending love of His children.
You can trust Him.
Jill (just one of God’s Kids)