How You Handle Life’s Curve Balls Matters

Sermon Titled “Fading Dreams:Lessons from the Life of Joseph” (Genesis 37:1) – August 25th, 2013

In Sunday’s sermon, Pastor Reimer charted the life of Joseph, from the time that he was a teenage boy living in the land of Canaan with his family, to the time of his appointment by Pharaoh, as the head man in charge over all the land of Egypt (Genesis 41:41).

Joseph’s is a story that ends with a fairy tale ending, but the road he had to travel to get there was both long and painful. His ability however, to keep his integrity and faith intact during the most trying seasons of his life, offers hope to those who are going through hard or unsettling times.

Here’s a brief overview of what Joseph endured through his young adult life:

  • His brothers despised him so much (their hatred was driven by jealousy), that they threw him into a pit and anticipated killing him.
  • Instead of killing Joseph, his brothers settled on selling him to a group of traveling Ishmaelites who took him to Egypt.
  • The Ishmaelites later sold Joseph to Potiphar, one of Pharaoh’s officials.
  • Joseph found favor with Potiphar, until Potiphar’s wife lied and falsely accused Joseph of trying to sleep with her.
  • Potiphar was enraged and had Joseph thrown in prison where he remained for more than two years.

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Despite all of the wrongdoings done to him, Joseph somehow kept his composure, refusing to give in to feelings of justified rage and resentment, and choosing instead to honor God. He did so by continuing to respectfully serve those in authority over him, and more remarkable than that, was his demonstration of compassion and forgiveness when he eventually came face to face with his brothers many years later. How was Joseph able to endure so much pain, without falling prey to deep-rooted anger and thoughts of revenge?

Joseph’s ability to endure and not harvest seeds of hate and anger, seems to have been rooted in an innate trust and belief that God was always with him. His faith reminds me of that of World War II Holocaust survivor, Corrie Ten Boom – she refused to accept that God had abandoned her, even when she was in the darkest place of her life with many around her dying daily.

Interestingly, Pastor Reimer asked the question, “Where in Joseph’s life was he out of God’s will?” The first thought I believe most people considered in response to this question, was “Where did Joseph go wrong?” And then it becomes obvious that Joseph, in fact, never did “go wrong.” Everything that happened to him appears to have been part of God’s ultimate plan for his life – yes, even the terrible things that happened.

I’m not sure the average Christian going through trials and testing, could muster up the kind of hope, faith, and obedience that Joseph did, but reading his story encourages us. God has a plan for us, and He wants us to serve Him faithfully – believing that the paths we are led down (whether good or bad), are all part of His perfect plan for us.

But here’s the kicker, and something that needs to be considered: what if Joseph had stepped outside of God’s will, and decided instead to take matters into his own hands? What if he had rebelled against those who held him in bondage, or what if he had taken advantage of the advances of Potiphar’s wife, or chosen to take revenge upon his brothers? Would the plans that God had for him still have been fulfilled, or would the outcome of his life have taken a completely different turn? Something to think about.

curveball

As you ponder the scenario above, let me share with you a quote, sent to me the other day by a friend (who like many of us in the military, is anxiously waiting to hear where their next duty station will be):

  • “The will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you.” {source unknown}

How you handle the trying and unsettling times in your life really does matter – do you want to attempt to manipulate your circumstances and hope for the best, or do you want to continue honoring and obeying God, choosing instead to wait and see what He has in store for you?

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2 thoughts on “How You Handle Life’s Curve Balls Matters

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