We have arrived at week seven of the book club and with it comes one of my favorite stories in the bible, the tale of Joseph and his brothers. A tale of jealousy, betrayal, deception and murderous intent, but at the same time a tale of love, faithfulness and restoration. Probably one of the most compelling stories in the bible for God's complete and total sovereignty over all things, good and evil.
Lisa gave us a series of questions to answer, based on a personal experience:
Looking back, describe an event that was both intended as evil and good. Are you allowing God's purposes to prevail or have you been content in accepting the evil consequences? Explain. I am going to direct everyone to something I posted last year. If you've been reading my blog for a while, you will recall this story. It was an emotionally draining situation, and it could have turned out so differently. In that particular case, I was able to see how God used the situation to grow me spiritually. I think that so many events in our lives are simply vehicles for God to teach us something about His character...just, holy, loving, faithful, jealous, righteous. In my case, He used something that only affected me indirectly to show me my own sinful behavior. It could have gone either way. I could have become even more bitter towards the people who had wronged my husband, or I could have taken the chance to reflect on the state of my own heart. Thankfully, by the guidance of the Holy Spirit I was able to accept the chastening for what it was...an opportunity to grow.
One thing that really resonated with me was Joseph's faithfulness no matter what was perpetrated against him. Are we being faithful in less than desirable situations so that God can make the most of them? How are lives being preserved as a result of your experience? When I read this question, I thought immediately of my children. My example in times of great trouble or difficulty goes beyond what I am learning, but has a permanent and lasting effect on the lives of my children. Do I want them to face adversity with a willing spirit, leaning on the strength of Jesus Christ, or do I want them to face it with bitterness and anger? I think they learn so much more about real faithfulness when they see me react once with grace and mercy in a difficult situation, than if I were to be gracious and merciful 10 times over during the good times. I pray that my faithfulness will preserve their lives in an eternal way, by being the example that leads them to a relationship with Christ.