Growing up

Growing up

Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered. – Hebrews 5:8

Genesis 45:5-8

 5 But don’t be upset, and don’t be angry with yourselves for sending me to this place. It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives.

 7 God has sent me ahead of you to keep you and your families alive and to preserve many survivors.

 8 So it was God who sent me here, not you! And he is the one who made me an adviser to Pharaoh – the manager of his entire palace and the governor of all Egypt.

Sadly our fallen world is filled with disappointment, suffering, ill-treatment, and betrayal. From an earthly viewpoint, all these things are horrific and need to be corrected if at all possible.

But the Father sees things in an entirely different way. He uses all the difficulties of life to mature His beloved children. Suffering is one of the roads that leads to growth, character, and willing submission to the Father’s will.

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved” – (Helen Keller).

The life of Joseph included many disappointments, deceptions, and betrayals. His own brothers wanted to kill him. Instead they betrayed him and sold him into slavery. He wound up in Egypt as a house slave of Potiphar. For a while, because of his natural talents and abilities, he excelled. But Joseph was falsely accused, betrayed again, and ultimately landed in prison. He was now just another forgotten prisoner.

Did he become angry, bitter, hateful and desirous of revenge? Definitely not. Rather the Father used these decades, to transform Joseph into a new person. He grew up and became wise. The Father disciplined him, child-trained him. As a result, godly character and integrity were added to his natural brilliance and organizational skills. But he remained a prisoner. More promises were made, and more betrayal was experienced. Until the day that the Father had appointed for him to be freed.

The Father had a plan all along, but it was only at the time of Egypt’s greatest need, that Joseph was called upon to rise to the occasion and solve the problems. Famine was coming, and with that death from starvation. But the Father gave Joseph a plan and it proved to be successful beyond anyone’s wildest imagination.

One day Joseph was a filthy prisoner, a slave in tattered rags. The next day he was the Prime Minister of Egypt, second in power and authority only to Pharaoh himself. Not only was Egypt saved from certain famine and death, but abundant reserves of grain and other necessities were safely stored away.

Eventually his own brothers came to Egypt to try to purchase grain so that they and their families would not die. Joseph did not reveal himself at first. He no longer looked the part of a Hebrew, but rather had the aspect and clothing of a powerful Egyptian official, and of course spoke fluent Egyptian.

He wanted to find out if the Father had changed their hearts as well. Indeed He had.

Genesis 45:1-4

 1 Joseph could stand it no longer. There were many people in the room, and he said to his attendants, “Out, all of you!” So he was alone with his brothers when he told them who he was.

 2 Then he broke down and wept. He wept so loudly the Egyptians could hear him, and word of it quickly carried to Pharaoh’s palace.

 3 “I am Joseph!” he said to his brothers. “Is my father still alive?” But his brothers were speechless! They were stunned to realize that Joseph was standing there in front of them.

 4 “Please, come closer,” he said to them. So they came closer. And he said again, “I am Joseph, your brother, whom you sold into slavery in Egypt.

REFLECT & PRAY

Life is full of hardship and difficulties. But in the hands of our loving Father, our suffering is being used for His eternal purposes.

Father thank you it is true, but whom the Lord loves He also disciplines, for our own good that it may yield in us the peaceable fruit of righteousness.

INSIGHT

Difficult times tend to prune away the deadwood in our lives that needs to go to anyway in order to conform us into the image of the Lord Jesus Christ. Such pruning increases our fruitfulness. Hard times are part of the Father’s training for each of is children.

Hebrews 12:10-11

 10 For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness.

 11 No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening – it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.

The Father uses disappointment to develop character and maturity. This was true even for the Son of God Himself, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 5:8 Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered.

Pain is inevitable; sorrow is optional. When it comes to how we respond to physical and emotional pain, we have a choice. “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom” (Viktor Frankl). “When trials hit, we can always be sure that God will come to our aid. Why? (1) It’s His nature – “He is ‘the Father of mercies’ and the ‘God of all comfort.’ (2) He’s training us to comfort others” (Stanley).


Someone once said to a sufferer: ‘Suffering colors life, doesn’t it?’ The sufferer replied: ‘Yes, but I propose to choose the color.’ The Christian is the athlete of God whose spiritual muscles become stronger from the discipline of difficulties” (Barclay).

The canvas of our lives is filled with all of the our life experiences. Through our relationship with the Father, or lack thereof, we play a part the textures and colors added to it. It can be dull, drab, boring, or depressing. Or it can be bright, cheerful, upbeat, and filled with the confident expectation.

And so it was with Joseph!

Genesis 50:20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.

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