Our Story for His Glory
So, you’ve worked your way to the top. Your story involves many trials, challenges and some foul play. But now you’re in charge. You’re on top of the hill looking over all you govern, and that inner voice says one of two things; “Now I can get my profit and revenge” or “Now I can forgive and make things better.” Pastor Steve in Voorhees told us from Genesis 50 what Joseph’s voice said to him. Pastor Steve called it “understanding Joseph’s perspective.”
Mankind tends to blame or question God when things go wrong, and praise themselves when things go right. Joseph would have been understood by the governed if he took revenge on his brothers who wronged him so. Would this be any different than a spouse who wanted revenge after a bitter divorce? Or an employee who felt unjustifiably used, then fired? Doesn’t it say somewhere in the bible about an eye for an eye?
Pastor Steve talked about Joseph’s connection to God. How God is not only all powerful, good and loving, but can use the evil concocted by man to further the good of His Kingdom. (Genesis 50:20) God does that work through us if we allow it.
Prior to the sermon, Lani Campagno gave a moving testimony to the power of prayer, community and submitting to the will of God as she talked about her daughter who survived a very premature birth. As happy as I was for Lani’s family, I was glad to hear Pastor Steve address the issue that sometimes things don’t turn out as well. That’s when your faith is tested. That’s when you need community to pray with/for you when you can’t get the words past your lips.
If one’s faith is strong eventually we will see there is a reason that the top of every storm cloud is pure white. God’s light always shines on us even when we can’t see it. Pastor Steve implored us to remember that “God is never absent. He is right in the mess with you. He is holding your hand and although you may not always be the beneficiary of the good, eventually God will make all things good.”
I’ve known parents who have lost children and yet found the courage to go on with faith. I’ve known folks who were decimated by illness and demonstrated their faith despite the inevitable finality of the prognosis. I’ve seen parents who never gave up on a child addicted or troubled even at huge personal loss. In every case God was there and the person’s ability to survive and move forward was a testimony to their faith. Everyone can smile when the going is good. The test is to move forward in a positive way when the treadmill of life seems in reverse.
By forgiving his brothers and providing for the masses during famine, Joseph demonstrated God’s way to lead. To have faith and strength during the down seasons of life, and to work for God’s glory during the upswing was Joseph’s way of sending a message to the leaders of the future.
Singer songwriter Neil Diamond once wrote “Did you ever read about a frog who dreamed of being a king…and then became one. Well except for the names and a few of the changes my story’s the same one. But I have an emptiness deep inside and I’ve tried but it won’t let me go.”
Every parent in charge of their children, every boss in charge of their employees, every government official running a town, state or country has the same choices as Joseph. They can lead for the good of all in concert with God’s ways or work for their own power and greed. If they choose the latter, someday they too will end up with “an emptiness deep inside” that won’t go away.
God’s hand is perpetually there for the taking. Believe it. Take it. When life fulfills your dream and turns you into a King, remember your roots, remember your faith and work for the good of all. Do Kingdom work, always.