Ever felt this way?
Diminished in position. Like someone took away your identity, your specialness.
Maybe you’re no longer a mom of a toddler, or a teen…maybe the kids have grown up and moved on. What you were, for the longest time, is not what you are now. In fact, you may not even be sure of who you are right now.
Diminished in presence. Geographically, you’ve moved or someone you love has.
You’re home alone now. Or at work alone, missing someone you care about. You’ve been taken out of your comfort zone and transplanted somewhere you didn’t expect.
Diminished as a person. You’ve been criticized, degraded, lowered in your (or someone else’s) eyes.
It feels like life is ganging up on you. The media says stay-at-home moms are… the latest poll reports that women between the ages of… the number of church-going Americans is… All of a sudden, you feel like the minority.
Not a day goes by that I don’t experience one of those.
I miss the crazy days when this house reverberated with the noise and energy of four rambunctious boys. I’m pushed out of my comfort zone into an awkward, prickly situation. Someone criticizes my teaching, and I feel less worthy as an educator.
In the face of that kind of adversity, where to go? Joseph’s story hits home.
- Removed of the cloak that identified him as the favored son, his position was trashed.
- Placed in a cistern and then sold to a band of foreigners, Joseph’s presence faded away.
- First a slave—virtually, property—then wrongfully accused and imprisoned, what was he now?
He was part of a greater plan.
And in the midst of my adversity, I can’t dwell on today’s woes or yesterday’s suffering. Instead, my eyes should be on the One with the greater plan.
After all Joseph went through, look where he ended up!
He rose up to unlikely prominence, saving an entire nation from famine.
In his own personal life, God used his adversity to picture redemption and reconciliation (for us, generations later), bringing together his unlikely band of brothers, loving them back into relationship and reuniting a grieved father and son.
And after all that suffering, what did Joseph have to say?
“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50:20).
Sorrow, decline, even tragedy… “intended…for good to accomplish…the saving of many lives.”
As our wise pastor said on Sunday, “Sorrow looks back. Worry looks around. Faith looks forward.”
No matter what I face today, Father, give me forward-looking faith.