Sunday, March 4, 2018

God's Bigger Picture

            Sometimes I am tempted to believe that if I could see what God is doing or why a particular trial is happening, then I could endure with more contentment. However, as we discussed and learned in our Bible study, When God Doesn’t Fix It, that is simply not the case. Instead, it comes back to my attitude and trust in the Lord. One of my favorite thoughts from the study went something like this: Are you trusting in God only if He changes your circumstances (the way you want), or are you simply trusting in Him?
            Still, I do believe that realizing that God is up to something so much bigger than we can see really helps with my attitude and faith, even if I don’t know what that is exactly. Think of the story of Joseph. Here is a young, cocky guy who sees visions that God is going to put him in authority over his brothers, so he brags about it to them. The brothers are so tired of him being daddy’s favorite, and now he says that he is going to be greater than they. At first, they plot to kill him, but then decide to sell him into slavery.
            What must Joseph have been thinking? God, You told me I was going to be in authority and be greater than my brothers. Now they have forsaken me, and I am a slave?! You didn’t mention this part of the plan. IS this part of Your plan?
            What a betrayal! What a crazy departure from what Joseph was expecting. Have you had moments like this where you don’t know what God is doing or how something so terrible could be a part of His plan? The great thing about history is that we can see the whole story and how it worked out!
            God is with Joseph, and He raises Joseph to be the right-hand man of a very important guy named Potiphar. Joseph begins to prosper, and perhaps he feels some hope that God is going to fulfill his dream. Enter Potiphar’s wife: after a failed attempt to seduce Joseph, she accuses him of trying to seduce her. He is thrown in prison for YEARS!
            Again, perhaps Joseph was better than all of us, but it would have been tempting to ask where God was in all this and if He had forgotten His plan for Joseph that He had shown him in his dream. Yet, even in prison, Joseph remained faithful to the Lord, and the Lord prospered him there too. God also gives Joseph the opportunity to interpret dreams of a couple of guys, which much later, leads to the opportunity to interpret Pharaoh’s dream. Because God allows Joseph to interpret that dream, Joseph becomes the right-hand man of Pharaoh. Although Pharaoh is ultimately the ruler, he gives Joseph complete rule over all Egypt. What power, authority, and honor!
            As the story goes on, Joseph’s brothers do bow before him because they need food from Egypt during the terrible famine, and God fulfills the dream that Joseph originally had. While young Joseph potentially would have lorded it over his brothers, a now mature Joseph who has seen God’s faithfulness to him through so much, proclaims that he sees God’s hand in even the cruel act of his brothers selling him into slavery; “Now do not be angry with yourselves, because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life(Gen 45:5).”

            When we are currently in trials and cannot see the bigger picture or when we have been through something tough and still have no answer as to why, we can look back at our own lives and remember God’s faithfulness to us. We can look at how God used difficulties in the lives of His people through all time to accomplish great, eternal things and to ultimately bless and shape them. God never leaves us or forsakes us. While we may not be able to see what exactly He is doing, we know His character and how He is always faithful to His people. He is the God who brings beauty out of ashes and resurrection from death. We can trust Him through our greatest trials, and we can rest in His unchanging character when our circumstances are constantly changing.

~Judith Graham

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