October 30, 2013 - Have you had somebody hurt you? I mean really harm you?
Have you were abandoned, discarded by someone you thought loved you? Maybe a friend who betrayed you? Maybe a spouse who cheated on you? Maybe a spouse who out of the blue said, "I want a divorce?"
Have you had dreams that you've been working towards and suddenly, they're shattered? And you wonder, "WHY God? Where are you God? I thought you were with me?"
A few weeks ago I talked about Joseph. Not Joseph and Mary –not that Joseph –but Joseph in the OT –the great-grandson of Abraham.
Maybe you've never read the story of Joseph in the Bible, but maybe you've seen the musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat written by Andrew Lloyd Webber?
Joseph had big dreams when he was a boy –dreams given to him by God. But when he was 17, he was abandoned by his family. His own brothers hated him and threw him into a pit. Then they sold him as a slave. Later he unfairly spent time in jail. His life seemed to be one long string of bad luck.
Here's the key: Joseph kept obeying God and applying God's truth to his life, and eventually it all made sense. He didn't give up. He didn't quit on God. He didn't take the easy way out. Eventually Joseph rises to the top of the Egyptian government and is able to help many people.
An inspiring story isn't it? A key principle that Joseph teaches us is this: To understand why, obey and apply.
Joseph didn't understand why he was in that pit or in that prison until years later! He didn't understand why. But he obeyed and applied.
He trusted that God had the big picture in mind even when he couldn't see it. He applied himself. He worked hard. He kept a good attitude. People liked him. He didn't seek revenge. He didn't get an attitude.
When he didn't understand why, he obeyed and applied. How about you? When you're in a pit and you don't know why –obey and apply!
When you've done the right thing and still end up in trouble and you don't know why –obey and apply!
When someone you've trusted hurts you and you're tempted to get revenge –obey and apply!
When a beautiful, gorgeous opportunity entices you do something you know you should not do –obey and apply!
You may know why now, but somewhere down the road, in a later chapter of your story, God will show you why. And you will look back and go, "Wow! Look at how God was guiding me all the way, even when I didn't know why."
To understand why, obey and apply.
The Rev. Greg Henneman is pastor of Clarkston Community Church.