PREPARING FOR TRIALS
I've been thinking a lot about the story of Joseph recently.
If you don't know the story, here's a reeeeaaaaaly quick summary:
Joseph was the youngest of 11 boys and the favourite of his father. His brothers despised him for this. They hated him so much that, one day, they beat him and sold him into slavery. Joseph was then taken to Egypt. While he was a slave he was wrongfully accused and thrown into prison. God then used all this to raise him up to become the most influential man in the known world. He saved many people from starvation during a 7 year famine. Eventually, his own brothers ended up on their knees, begging him for food, and the family was reunited. It's an epic story worth checking out (Genesis ch. 37-48).
Whenever I've read this story, I've only ever thought about it from Joseph's perspective. I've only focused on everything Joseph goes through and how God blessed him. I mean, it makes sense why God blesses Jospeh, he was an upright dude. He served his master well, he ran away from Potiphers wife (who was trying to drag him between the sheets), and he trusted God after he was wrongfully imprisoned. You expect God to bless the good guy.
But what about his brothers?
The 10 guys who hated their own flesh and blood so much that they beat Joseph, sold him, and upheld the lie for YEARS.
God was for them.
I just can't stop thinking about the fact that, when the famine started to sink its teeth into Josephs family, God had already prepared a solution for them. Before the first stomach started to growl with hunger. Before the reality had set in that the brothers and their families were in trouble. God had been preparing a solution, an escape, an answer.
20 years before the famine Joseph was taken to Egypt, and God used all of it to prepare Joseph to save, not only Egypt, not only himself, but the surrounding area AND his brothers.
Before the first brother shouted for relief from the threat of starvation and the pain of their circumstance began to overwhelm them, God had been setting things up for the whole family to walk into victory. I just can't help but think that God does the same for each of us.
We don't always see our trials with great clarity, but I am confident of this; when times of hardship fall on us, God is ready. When we start praying about a difficult season, we aren't getting God up to speed on current events. HE KNOWS! HE KNEW! HE HAS KNOWN!
He has been placing the pieces in your lives together in preparation for this season. In some cases, He has been orchestrating a solution for over 20 years. God might have someone or something working on your trial right now. The other person might not know it. YOU might not know it. But that doesn't matter because God knows.
In the meantime, until we receive the exit strategy from our situations, I suggest we do what Josephs brothers did, and go to the place where we are going to get fed. Go to the place that is serving up sustenance. Go to that place and grab whatever morsel or crumb you can to sustain you--and I'm not talking about physical food, I'm talking about church.
Go to church.
Get into community. Journey to the place where you are going to receive bread and water.
It may seem like you are starving and without food, but God is working. God has been getting ready. God has BEEN ready. GOD IS READY!
Whether you feel like Joseph or his brothers.
Whatever your trial.
God has a plan.