Have you ever been in the middle of something unpleasant and wondered if God was trying to chisel you and make you stronger, or if the enemy was trying to attack you, or if you were just living the reality/result/consequences of an imperfect world with issues (or maybe somehow, in some seemingly tangled mess, it was all three...but you don't know... you just know you don't like it...)? Amidst the chaos and confusion, maybe you felt like road kill. Maybe you felt defeated.
I did not like it.
I like to understand things. I get frustrated when I do not. Sometimes we do not always get to see the big picture. Sometimes we do not get an explanation. Sometimes, in the middle of some kind of struggle, we do not get to see the forest for the trees. Sometimes it's just the tree. Or the branch. Or the leaf. Like it or not, we still get to respond.
How do you respond when you've been betrayed? How do you respond when you've been hurt? How do you respond when you've been mistreated, misrepresented, or misunderstood? How do you respond when you've been tempted? Or vilified? Or forgotten?
How does God respond?
We are kicking off a new sermon series this Sunday at PoC. I have been eagerly and impatiently waiting for months for our journey with Joseph to begin. His journey is highly relatable, and the steadfastness of God throughout all the ick is quite comforting. Unlike our own stories, we get to see Joseph's story in its entirety, with a bit of a bird's eye view, so-to-speak. We see life happening. We see how Joseph and God respond. We see how we could choose to respond when faced with adversity.
As we get ready to take this journey together, would you prayerfully consider the following today:
1.) Commit - Would you commit to reading God's Word and beginning the story of Joseph in Genesis 37 today, if you have not done so already? Would you commit to joining us this Sunday as we explore this story together? Would you commit to doing whatever the last thing is God told you to do that you may not have done yet?
Jeremiah 15:16 Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O LORD, God of hosts. (ESV)
2.) Reflect - PoC turns 2! God rocks! Birthdays are always a great time for reflection. Would you spend some time praising God and reflecting on what He has done for you personally? And for what He has done for PoC collectively? Thank Him now! And come celebrate with us this Sunday.. there will be baby dedications, baptisms, new members, and food... (come on, you know I had you at baby... awwww...)
Psalm 147:1 Hallelujah! It's a good thing to sing praise to our God; praise is beautiful, praise is fitting." (MSG)
3.) Pray - I don't want to spoil the story, or leap ahead (though I challenge you to start reading Joseph's story and be able to stop, haha!) but let me just say this: Joseph is 17 years old when we start following his story, and in the first chapter (Genesis 37) we encounter family drama, jealousy, conspiracy, attempted murder, and slavery. And this is only the beginning of the ick!!! Does any of that resonate? How are we to respond? Who wants to go up against all that without prayer to our loving, steadfast, and capable Father?
Maybe life circumstances have left you feeling like road kill, but I think God still wants us to pray in our weakness and offer up the measly, ragged, little bit of ourselves that is left so that He can do what He does best, whether we fully understand it or not.
Jeremiah 31:3 The Lord appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you. (ESV)
The PoC Prayer Service is tonight at 7pm. Hope to see you there.
Thank you for being ever-present. Thank you for your steadfastness. Help me commit to spending time with You and being obedient to you in both the big and small things. I love you and I need you. Amen.