Going On and On and On

It seems God keeps putting me in a holding pattern.  A holding pattern at home!!!  What I mean is about 2 weeks into my shingles I developed another minor infection, so off to get antibiotics, then a few days ago, I cut my finger while trying to pry open a tin can lid…OUCH.  I was in the Dr.’s office all afternoon getting stitches and yes, more antibiotic.  So, you see I have been holding at home a lot due to God putting His sweet finger on me and making me slow down.  I am hoping and praying that my season of illness is over with the finger incident and that I can get back into a little more normal rut.

It helps that the book I am reading and teaching in our MOMs group  is dealing with issues of persevering under trials.  ( Loving God With all Your Mind by Elizabeth George)It talks about living in the realm of today, not yesterday or tomorrow and about being flexible when God changes your plans…good stuff.  As I was studying for our last lesson, we were focusing on the life of Joseph.  His story is told in Genesis 37-50.  He is a great inspiration of how to persevere and live in the present and be all that God has called us to be.  I also found out some things I didn’t know about him when I began the study.  He is one of the most beautiful symbols of Jesus Christ in the Old Testament.  He was:

  • loved by his father
  • hated by his brothers
  • punished unjustly
  • exalted as a type of “savior of the world” because people had to come to him for bread during the famine

The shortened version goes something like this…

Once upon a time there lived a boy named Joseph.  His father loved him far more than any of his brothers and his father gave him a gorgeous rainbow coat that his brothers also hated.  One day Joseph told his brothers about a dream he had and they got very angry and decided to kill him.  The oldest brother, Reuben, suggested they throw Joseph into a pit instead.  Maybe Reuben did this because he was older and wiser or maybe because since he was the oldest he knew his father would hold him responsible and he would be in hot water.  Who knows, but the brothers agreed and then another brother, Judah, decided to sell him as a slave to some passers by. (I don’t know about you, but at that point I probably would have sat down and cried and just considered myself ‘done in’.  Back to the story…) Joseph keeps going on. He ends up in Egypt and gets a job at Potiphar’s house.  He doesn’t focus on what he had in the past, he just tries to be the best employee and winds up being the overseer. Joseph was very well liked, especially by Potiphar’s wife.  She tries to seduce him and he runs away.  While trying to escape, Potiphar’s wife  pulls Joseph’s coat off and uses it to frame him.  (That makes 2 times that a coat got Joseph in big trouble-maybe that is why in the rest of the story you never hear of Joseph wearing anymore coats:))

Joseph is thrown in prison.  It seems he should have been upset, (I would have been.  I would have cried again and told everyone how unfairly I was treated) but  Joseph just keeps going on and working hard at the task at hand.  He isn’t under the circumstances, he is above them and could apparently see God’s hand at work in his life.  Joseph rises to be the prison overseer.  He interprets some dreams for the kings staff and the interpretations are accurate.  When the cupbearer gets out of prison and is restored to his former job, Joseph asks him to remember him to the king.  The cupbearer forgot for TWO years…that’s right, two years. (I would think that would seem like a very long time if you were in prison.) Joseph keeps going on. Eventually the king calls for Joseph to interpret his dreams, which Joseph accurately did.  One interesting thing is that Joseph didn’t just interpret the dreams, he came prepared with ideas and solutions.  He was planned.  He must have made good use of his time in prison instead of dwelling on himself. He must have talked to God a lot to have all those ideas readily available when needed.

Once again Joseph is exalted to a position of leadership.  It just goes to show that the cream rises to the top.  During the seven years of famine, all the people come to Egypt and  to Joseph for grain so they can live.  You see, the providence of God had brought Joseph to Egypt years earlier to save God’s chosen people and to eventually move them to Egypt and cut them off from intermarrying with the heathen.  (see Genesis 38). so,  Joseph keeps going on.  He doesn’t swell on his past and feel that he is not good enough in his current position of leadership.

As the story unfolds, Joseph’s brothers come for grain too.  They do not recognize him, but he recognizes them.  It seems that Joseph is treating them pretty rough, (which I would do if my brothers had treated me as they did Joseph back so many years earlier) but Joseph’s reasons were not selfishly motivated.  Joseph wanted them to come to the realization of their sin twenty years earlier  and to confess it.  He wanted to see if their hearts were hardened or not.  He actually showed compassion by not separating them while they were in prison and was gracious to them in several instances.  Even though some of his actions seemed tough, Joseph did what God told him to do and he just kept going on.

(A side note here-Remember Judah, the brother that sold Joseph into slavery?  The progress of God’s grace is seen in his life because  he goes from selling Joseph as a slave to offering to be a sleve to Joseph.  And he goes from be calloused about his father’s feelings toward Joseph to having sacrificial concern for his father.  Judah was trying to protect his youngest brother whom his father dearly loved by being Joseph’s slave.)

Finally Joseph reveals himself to his brothers and freely forgives them for their sin, just like Christ does for us.  The family reunites in Egypt and lives happily ever after.  I love that Joseph is such a great example of how to persevere during trials and hard times.  He had more than his share-certainly more than I have had.  Joseph knew that the evil his brothers and others meant for him was used for good by God.  He knew that all he had to do was keep going on and on and on.

I am encouraged by Joseph’s example and I hope you are too.  We all go through tough seasons in life.  Especially as mom it seems our season with small children is  all we do each day is the same thing we did yesterday and we do it again today and we know that tomorrow it will be the same again.  It is important to have some go to pictures and scriptures from the Bible that can help us remember that God sees the big plan and we just have to keep going on to what He has called us day to day.

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