Jump Start # 2413
Hebrews 11:22 “By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the exodus of the children of Israel, and gave orders concerning his bones.”
I find it interesting that the Holy Spirit mentions the dying Joseph but doesn’t tell us much about his incredible life. His was indeed a journey of faith. Few people in all the Bible resemble Jesus as much as Joseph did. Hated, sold, falsely accused, he forgives and becomes the salvation to his people. But none of that is mentioned here in Hebrews.
Joseph’s life is a series of repeating themes. These themes happen three different times in his life. First, he is blindsided by trouble. See that with his brothers putting him in a pit. He didn’t see that coming. Again, this is repeated when his boss’ wife accuses him of sexual advances. And, it is repeated again, when he is promised to be released from prison and someone forgets him. Blindsided by troubles. It happens all the time. We just didn’t see it coming. We had no way of preparing. A car accident. A sudden illness. A storm smashes your house. You are no longer needed at your job. Caught off guard. Unprepared.
The second series of cycles in Joseph’s life follows each of these blind spots. After Joseph was put in a pit, his brothers sold him. He was taken miles from his home and was living among pagans. Joseph wouldn’t see his family again for 37 years. Things got a lot worse for him. And, this is repeated again. Not only did his boss’ wife falsely accuse him, but Joseph lost his position, his job and is put in prison. And, again, this is repeated a third time. Not only is he in prison, but he is left there for two years. Things can get a lot worse and this often follows being blindsided.
The third part of this cycle is that Joseph never gave up on God. He saw that with his brothers. He saw that with being able to help interpret Pharaoh’s dream. He saw that in his ability to prepare Egypt for a major famine. Joseph always gave God the credit. Joseph never felt abandoned by God. The Lord was always with him.
Now, for you and I, it may well be this same cycle. We may be blindsided by terrible events. Things may get worse before they get better. Yet, faith in Christ will get us through. It is faith that conquers fear. It is faith that allows us to see the invisible. It is faith that believes God is with us and will help us.
I’ve heard people say, “I don’t think I can get through this.” There’s been a death. They stand in the rumble and debris that once was their home. They face being a single parent because their mate has left them. They must make funeral arrangements for a child. The doctor says no more can be done. How can we go on? Is it possible to get through this?
I think of that teenager Joseph, in a pit and he can not get out. I think of that same Joseph standing before an angry Pharaoh who demands that he be sent to prison. I think about that same Joseph who sees the cupbearer walking out of prison and there is hope that he too will soon be released. But nothing happens. He’s forgotten. Time passes and he remains in prison. How can we get through this?
We need to remember four truths:
- Getting through this does not mean that everything will be returned to the way it was. We want to rewind the tape and get back to the way things once were. Your mate who has left may never return. Your child who declares that he is gay, may stay that way all of his life. You may never again find a job making the money you once did. Normal is only a setting on your dryer. However, you can get through this. It may be a new chapter in your journey. It may not be the way you planned, expected or even wanted, but you can get through this, “By faith.” The problems do not have to win. The problems do not have to conquer you. Greater is God who is in us than he who is in the world. God is greater than any of our problems. There has been wars, depressions, captivity, hard times and the people of faith have marched on with the Lord. Some were taken to foreign lands. Some were given new names. Some saw their world turned inside out, yet, by faith, they got through it.
- Getting through often means that you’ll have a few scars. When life punches you in the face, it hurts. Your heart will have scars. There will be lessons learned. There will be some changes along the way. But, you can get through this by faith. Prayer and a closer walk with the Lord will get you through this.
- Getting through this is about the salvation of your soul. It means Heaven. This is what God’s after. You may not renew broken friendships, ever. You may not have the same house you once did. You may not have the level of lifestyle that you were accustomed to. None of those things matter. What matters is getting to Heaven. This is what getting through is all about. The lamb in Psalms 23 walked through the valley of the shadow of death. He didn’t stay there. He didn’t make that valley his home. He went through with God. God was with him. This life isn’t about the square footage of your house, how large your TV screen is, how many cars you own, where you vacation. None of those things matter. You think about those poor, poor, disciples in the first century. They had little. Many were slaves and servants. They have a reward in Heaven because of their faith. That’s what it means to get through.
- Getting through is a journey of faith and you’ll only get through by your faith. Jesus ended His great sermon on the mount by telling of a violent storm. The winds blew. The rains fell. A flood came. Some houses were swept away. They collapsed. Others stood. The difference was the foundation. The difference was faith. You’ll have storms. Some will blindside you. Some will be the worst you’ve ever been through. It will be enough to scare most. It will be enough to worry some. But your faith will make all the difference. You remember Daniel, living most of his life in a foreign land. Yet, there he is as an old man, praying to God. He has not forgotten.
How are we going to get through this? Like Joseph. Like the early Christians. Like brethren today. By faith. We will continue to worship, walk with God and be the light of the world. In the worst times our lights can shine the brightest. How are we going to get through when our eyes are full of tears? God will help us. It is by faith that we long for a land where there are no more tears, death or mourning. How can we get through when my life has changed so much? By faith. We long for a land in which death is no allowed to enter in. We long for a land in which things will be the same forever.
I don’t think I can get through this…yes, you can. God says so. Yes, it’s hard. Yes, it’s not the way you want things to be. Yes, the days and nights seem so long. Yes, there is a pain that doesn’t go away. But, with God at your side, things will get better. With God at your side, you CAN get through this.
Satan wants you to quit. Satan says “it’s too much.” Satan wants you to drown your sorrows in alcohol. The problem with that is that sorrows know how to swim. They never drown. Only the person drinking, drowns. Get down to the church house as much as you can. Force yourself, even when you don’t feel like it. Open that Bible up and read. Really read. Fall to your knees and pray like you’ve never prayed before.
In a pit, in a prison, forgotten, accused, in a lion’s den, in a fiery furnace, or upon a Cross—you can get through this!