Growing pains

Growing pains

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. – Genesis 50:20

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.

“When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going” is a 1985 song recorded by English singer Billy Ocean in 1985. The song was used as the theme song for the Michael Douglas film, The Jewel of the Nile. The song became a major international hit reaching number one on the UK Singles Chart in February 1986, and number two on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.

But 15 years before Billy Ocean sang it, John Wooden, said it. John Wooden was the amazing and innovative head coach of basketball at the University of California, Los Angeles. He changed her the entire nature of the game of college basketball and was nicknamed the “Wizard of Westwood.” He won ten NCAA national championships in a 12-year period. He won an all-time record of seven in a row.

Wooden formulated what he called the “Pyramid of Success.” At the heart of his pyramid is competitive greatness: “When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going. Be at your best when your best is needed. Real love of a hard battle.” No doubt it worked! His pyramid had 24 traits that made for success.

Among the 24 attributes of success are: Faith through prayer, Patience good things take time, fight, effort, and hustle, Reliability others depend on you, Resourcefulness proper judgment, Poise just being yourself, being at ease in any situation, never fighting yourself, Confidence respect without fear, may come from faith in yourself in knowing that you are prepared, Adaptability to any situation condition and Integrity.

The pages of history are replete with people who have experienced injustice and suffering. It seems that almost no one is exempt from mistreatment, criticism, and outright conflict. The Father uses these things to make us more like Christ.

Joseph received more unfair treatment and betrayal than most of us could even imagine. His brothers sold him into slavery. He was thrown into prison because Potiphar’s wife slandered him. In prison, for all practical purposes, he was left to rot. But something marvelous was happening deep in the dungeon. The Father was at work developing his character. Joseph came to understand the Father’s ways and he was being trained for what was to happen in the future. He discovered joy in the midst of sorrow, purpose in the midst of hopelessness. All that happened to him was nothing more than growing pains. When he was fully formed and the process was completed, he was not only freed from prison, but he was put in charge over all the land of Egypt. Only the Pharaoh ranked higher. He went from being rejected and forgotten, to recognized and famous. His elevation to prominence took only a day, but his preparation took 30 years.

REFLECT & PRAY

“God’s will does not come to us in the whole, but in fragments, and generally in small fragments” (F. W. Faber).

Father allow me to see my adversity as nothing more than growing pains. Let me ask, “what would you have me learn from this experience”. I am your handiwork. You are the Potter and I am the clay. May the image of the Lord Jesus Christ grow and burst forth through me.

INSIGHT

Proverbs 16:9 We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps

The Father has an intriguing and marvelous way of weaving together the plans and intentions of people and His divine purpose and goals. All Joseph knew was betrayal after betrayal, and disappointment after disappointment. But the Father was at work in all of the details. At the right time the Father’s purpose became clear.

The evil intentions and selfishness of those that meant Joseph harm, instead achieved the deliverance of the nation of Egypt and many others from death through famine. The man that Joseph became while seemingly forgotten in Egyptian prison cell was the Father’s doing. Joseph is a prime example of His handiwork.

Proverbs 19:21 You can make many plans, but the LORD’s purpose will prevail.

Joseph became a mature, godly, man of faith. And his gracious, forgiving attitude reunited his family. That was part of the Father’s plan. 70 members of Joseph’s family joined him in Egypt to survive and prosper (Genesis 46:27). After the administration changed, and Joseph was no longer in control, his people became slaves and remained in slavery for 400 years. But that was also part of the Father’s plan.

Genesis 50:20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good.

When you see things through the eyes of the Father, everything changes. What a magnificent paradigm shift.

We always have a choice. We can focus on the wrongs done to us and the pain we have suffered. Or we can ask the Father what He wants us to learn from our experiences. He will reveal His ways and purposes and provide guidance. But the road to godliness and growth begins by taking baby steps in developing the right attitude towards the Father and His work in our lives. 

Hebrews 12:12-14  

 12 So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees.

 13 Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak, and lame will not fall but become strong.

 14 Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life . . .

The Father often uses suffering to develop and bring forth the life of Christ in us. The Father’s endgame is to create an ever increasing “family resemblance” among all His children. Genesis ends with Joseph’s Christ-likeness in full bloom!

Genesis 50:19-24 

 19 But Joseph replied, “Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you?

 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.

 21 No, don’t be afraid. I will continue to take care of you and your children.” So he reassured them by speaking kindly to them.

 22 So Joseph and his brothers and their families continued to live in Egypt. Joseph lived to the age of 110.

 24 “God will surely come to help you and lead you out of this land of Egypt. He will bring you back to the land he solemnly promised to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.”

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