The last thing I’m thinking of doing when I’m in a place I DO NOT want to be, is get comfortable or acquainted with anything or anyone related to that place.
But only passing by
I’m not building a nest
I’m not making friends
I’m not making any permanent moves
And the rant goes on…
But just as you ramble on about how fast you want the hardship to pass, I must share an important message with you:
God has a bigger purpose for you in that pain –
So just be quiet and listen. Be attentive and obey.
Let us take a look at the story of Joseph in the bible; when he was thrown into prison, he served his way through. Without a doubt, there may have been days when he was fed up, irritated, and down, but he did not allow this to stop him from moving when he was called to. Today I encourage you to allow God to direct you in every single season of your life, as this enables His full glory to manifest in ways unimaginable.
While there’s a bigger back story to Joseph, let us skip to Genesis 39, as that’s our focus for today. Here we’re told about when Joseph is thrown into prison based on false accusations. (Genesis 39:19-20).
Some of us have found ourselves in positions where we feel cheated, treated unjustly, and completely undeserving of the misfortune that has come upon us. But what we must hold on to, is that even though we are in a place that we really do not believe is for us, God is still right there in that pit with us. The very next verse we read gives us proof of this as it says ‘But the Lord was with Joseph in the prison and showed him His faithful love.’ (Genesis 39:21).
You must remember this at all times as a key fact – that no pit or prison or negative circumstance will ever be big enough to separate you from the perfect, reckless love of God. (Romans 8:31-39, song – Reckless Love).
As we read on in this story, we’re enlightened that not only does God’s love saturate Joseph, but God also covers him with His perfect favour, thus causing him to find favour in the eyes of man;
‘And the Lord made Joseph a favorite with the prison warden. Before long, the warden put Joseph in charge of all the other prisoners and over everything that happened in the prison. The warden had no more worries, because Joseph took care of everything. The Lord was with him and caused everything he did to succeed.’ (Genesis 39:21-23)
Let this story speak to you – God’s favour upon you will make a way in every wilderness of your life (Isaiah 43:19). What I mean by this is that even when you, and everyone around you least expects it, God will still create avenues to show forth that He is holding you up INTENTIONALLY, with a master plan at work (Jeremiah 29:11), despite the muddiness of your situation.
Now, having outlined the unwavering faithfulness of God our Father, I want us to look at the part of this topic encompassing the key word in the title; S E R V I C E.
You see, what Joseph did not do, is reject the opportunity to be in charge of all the other prisoners. He did not allow anger or bitterness of his circumstance to hinder the various ways God was still showing His grace upon him in his situation.
In fact, when we go further in this story, there came a time when Joseph’s gift was required and he willingly put it to good use.
(Paraphrased, so please read Genesis 40 fully in your own time) Pharaoh became angry with two of his officials and threw them into jail. They each had dreams which Joseph had the gift to interpret and so he did, and everything happened just as he had interpreted.
The lesson I am drawing out here is that we must be attentive to opportunity and keep a gracious heart even when we are in that undesired place. Most definitely this is easier written/read/said than done, however at least if we keep it as a mindful prayer point, Christ will indeed enable us to adopt this positive outlook.
If God can uphold His faithfulness to us wherever we are in life, then we too should be determined to uphold our diligence of serving and honouring God and showing forth His love to our neighbours, even if things in our lives are a little sour. Regardless of what our circumstance looks like, the world around us still has great need of what God has planted inside of us. Therefore it is not good enough for us to think we can just hang up our duties for God’s kingdom because we’re angry or dissatisfied with our present situation. As children who were created to fulfil a purpose on this earth, we must never allow our hurt or pain to stop us from doing God’s work.
Why is this important?
Well apart from the fact that it demonstrates a wholehearted desire to please and worship God at all times, it’s also because you just never know which part of your actions, service and obedience to God’s instructions will pave a way in time to come.
Just as the bible tells us that our gifts will make room for us (Proverbs 18:16), so it did in the case of Joseph. And so it could be for you too!
When the time was right in accordance with God’s will, the chief cup-bearer remembered Joseph’s service when Pharaoh required an interpretation of his own dream. (Please read Genesis 41 fully for this section of the story).
You must realise the magnitude of the effect of Joseph’s simple action to serve in jail, as one that is HUGE! His ability to be patient in affliction (Romans 12:12) and to willingly serve in a time of trial, rather than throw a strop and despise God’s work, is what elevated him to the highest position he would ever reach in his lifetime (which he could then use to save an entire generation of people). (Genesis 41:41-44).
Today I’m encouraging you to please stay faithful to the work God has called you to, regardless of the ‘mess’ you are in.
I completely understand that initially you may not want to; you may feel disappointed, abandoned, let down and even neglected by God for permitting the hardship to take place. However, take example from Joseph and just see this pit as an important part of your journey to the highest position in your life. Ask Christ Jesus to soften your heart, keep you gracious and make you able to maintain a positive attitude, thus enabling you to operate in love towards everyone you encounter.
Whilst the pit is indeed not your destination, there is still an important reason for it in your life, so change your perspective of how you view it!
By no means am I asking you to get comfortable and build a home there, however I am reminding you to shake off any negative emotions that may hinder you from fulfilling your purpose in that season. A diligently served season of strife, will surely pave forward the way of victory in time to come – remember every single detail of your life has been carefully orchestrated by an All-knowing God, who makes no mistakes (Romans 8:28).
So put to death all the doubt and negative emotions of the flesh, and be alive in your spirit-man/woman – yielding to the direction of the Holy Spirit every step of the way to surely get you to that promised greater future.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:8-9)
“But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” (2 Timothy 4:5)
Keep the Faith, Don’t Stop Believing