When I started writing this blog, my intention was to put a few thoughts to paper and share a little of my story. To be honest, I never really thought anyone would read this and I still don’t quite understand the necessity of my words or why I must write them down. I just know that every few days or weeks, a thought comes, it’s followed by research, prayer, crying and then writing and then crying some more. I get a good cry. My daughter thinks I’m sad and my son explains that this is what mom does when she writes.
But, I must tell you that every time I click publish, I kinda want to throw up a little bit. This writing thing feels like standing in a crowd naked. Not that I’ve ever done that, but I can imagine it would be awkward. All your stuff on display for all the world to see.
I’ve been through some stuff and from the very beginning I knew that I would have to share my story. So, after many years of resisting I thought, well, I’ll write a few things down then maybe God will let me off the hook and I will go on about my business.
But then, something amazing and terrifying happened – you all read the blog. Over and over and over again, you read the blog. You listened while I regurgitated thoughts and the heartbreaks of life. You listened to my ridiculousness and embarrassing moments. And, so many of you have reached out to me, sharing your own troubles and triumphs. And, I want you to know that I’m overwhelmed and completely humbled. Not only because you read this blog, but because God once again has proven himself faithful.
Seven, almost eight, years ago, I was at my darkest hour. Sitting on the edge of divorce and questioning everything I’d ever known to be true. I was overcome with sadness and a sense of failure. I was facing decisions that had the power to shape my life forever and I was painfully aware of the consequences. The tears I cried would fill an ocean and the weight of the world was on my shoulders. I’m not quite sure if I cried out to the Lord as is often described in the Bible. I kinda think I yelled – maybe screamed a time or two. Some would even call it a temper tantrum. But, He heard my yell!!!
He heard my yell and, over time, He restored my marriage and maybe, most amazingly, He changed my heart. A heart that was rigid and calloused. A heart that was hurting and afraid. A heart that was broken, He traded for beauty.
A few weeks ago, I heard a message about the story of Joseph and I was reminded of a little bible personality test I took many years ago. These little tests are weird things that Christians do sometimes and, to be honest, I’ve always found them a little hokey. Anyway, I was “matched” with Joseph. I’ve never really paid attention to the results but, as I was listening to the message, it came to mind. And then, I recalled a statement made by Joseph to his brothers after he’d endured unbelievable hardship: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good” (Genesis 50:20).
Do y’all know the story of Joseph? Well, it’s long and somewhat complicated so I’ll just give you a recap.
Joseph was Jacob’s favorite son. He was a dreamer, literally, and his brother’s hated him. So, they plotted to kill him but, instead sold him into slavery and told their father, Jacob, that Joseph was dead.
Joseph was sold to Potiphar, an Egyptian – one of Pharoah’s officials, and later became in charge of Potiphar’s household. Then, Potiphar’s wife seduced him, he refused, and she accused him of rape and he was thrown in jail.
While in prison, he interpreted dreams for some of Pharoah’s assistants and fellow cellmates. One man promised to remember him when he got out of jail, but he forgot and Joseph sat for TWO MORE YEARS.
Y’all still with me? If you’re lost, Joseph is having a really hard time.
Finally, Joseph was called to interpret a dream for Pharaoh. He predicted seven years of abundance followed by seven years of famine, and he, Joseph, was placed in charge of the storehouses in Egypt.
When the famine hit, it was so severe that people came from other lands to buy food including Joseph’s brothers who sold him into slavery. Now, most people think this is a story about forgiveness and it is an amazing display of forgiveness on Joseph’s part. He ultimately forgave his brothers and was reunited with his father. But, I want you to look at this story not only from the angle of forgiveness but also from the angle of God’s goodness.
You see, I don’t think that most people have a hard time believing that God is all-powerful or almighty. I think that people have a hard time believing that an all-powerful God is good especially when things seem bad. And, even more unbelievable, at times, is that that an all-powerful good God loves them, sees them, and cares for them.
You see, if you look at Joseph’s circumstances, he was fighting a losing battle. Betrayal, slavery, and false imprisonment. But, if you look at Joseph’s God, He was always in control.
The scripture tells us that God was with Joseph in every situation. Genesis 39:21 says, “But there in jail God was still with Joseph”. He “prospered” in Potiphar’s house. He was granted “favor” in prison. And, he became second in command in Egypt. Everything that was intended to harm him, God intended for good.
I don’t know why bad things happen. I don’t understand the meaning for heartache, suffering and despair. But, I do know that the moment these things happen, the enemy tries to convince us to question God’s motives and his goodness.
That’s why I believe that Jesus told us in John 16:33, “In this world you will have trouble”. Not “you may have trouble” or “you might have a hard time”. He said, “You will”. We all will have trouble. But, keep reading, “But take heart! I have overcome the world”. And, in Romans 8:28 he promises to use this trouble for good to those who love him.
Y’all, listen. Pay attention. The prayer that so many of us prayed before meals as a child is true…”God is great, God is Good”.
And, you may be sitting there in the midst of tragedy feeling kind of like Joseph with circumstances that are out of your control. You may be crying rivers of tears that could fill up the ocean and be carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders. You may be starting to question God and His goodness. You may feel alone, forgotten and forsaken. But, friend, I want you to know that the God that was with Joseph in the prison, is with you. He is in control. He sees you, He cares for you and He loves more than you will ever know. If you will just trust Him and surrender to Him, He will take this tragedy – this thing that was meant to harm you and use it for good. He will turn ashes to beauty and breathe life into dead spaces. He is a great, all-powerful God, but He is also so good.