(Genesis 39: 2-5, NLT) The Lord was with Joseph, so he succeeded in everything he did as he served in the home of his Egyptian master. 3 Potiphar noticed this and realized that the Lord was with Joseph, giving him success in everything he did. 4 This pleased Potiphar, so he soon made Joseph his personal attendant. He put him in charge of his entire household and everything he owned. 5 From the day Joseph was put in charge of his master’s household and property, the Lord began to bless Potiphar’s household for Joseph’s sake.
Wherever Joseph was, whether in slavery to Potiphar, imprisoned with the warden, or in service to Pharaoh, he flourished. His life was blessed, and others were blessed through him, because of his obedience to God. To the naked, human eye, many of Joseph’s circumstances in life were difficult, and downright unfair. Yet when we zoom out and see things from the perspective of God, we are able to understand that each moment of hardship and affliction was but a cog in the intricate clockwork of his life. God was piecing it all together…a planned contrivance with a purpose that would endure for all of time.
Joseph’s life is one of the most familiar and relatable histories from the Bible. We can all, at some point in our lives, identify with being rejected, mistreated, lied about, used, and manipulated. It is through our ability to empathize with Joseph, as we read of his afflictions, that we are able to receive the story of redemption and victory that is established as a result. His life is an inspiration to all who read of it, because we know that if Joseph was able to stay humble and obedient throughout these trials, then we can certainly persevere in our own life battles. When we see the fruit of his commitment to obedience, we begin to feel that God does have a purpose for our pain — that God will provide for and bless us.
This September, Jonathan, Benjamin and I will have been in Louisville for seven years. We moved here with no home to settle into, and no jobs from which to earn money to support ourselves. We literally just packed our things and came here — totally and completely at the mercy of God’s purpose and plan for us. The only things we knew for certain were that God specifically told us to come here, and that He would never fail us in the process. We didn’t come with any intentions other than being obedient to His call on our lives. SpiritLife church, as many people see and know it today, did not even exist. Some months prior to our decision to come here, Jonathan’s mom and dad had been placed (by God) into what looked like an impossible situation — a church that was facing both financial and spiritual bankruptcy. When they shared with us the story of this church (what we all now know as SpiritLife Church), and the task that lay ahead, we knew that God was leading us to join them in this monumental labor of LOVE. We didn’t know why, and we never questioned God on it. We just hit the road! There was no promise of employment at the church, or even any sort of ministry position. There was no plan in place at all. We were simply on a mission to help love this hurting body back to life. We arrived on September 10, 2010. Jonathan’s parents were living in a two bedroom patio home — so we all hunkered down and made the best of it. Everything that we owned was placed in a storage unit. We often had to drive over and climb around inside to find things that we needed from time to time. We drove all over this large, unfamiliar city from one job interview to another…often several within one day. We enrolled our first grader into a school system that scared the living daylights out of this small town mama! I have to tell you, it was a little daunting and somewhat depressing at times — but we never stopped praying and trusting. We had made a decision to operate in obedience, and we stuck to it.
By September 20th (a mere 10 days later), we had secured a home in a neighborhood we felt reassured with, and within the month we both had jobs. They weren’t the best jobs, but we had work and that felt like a huge victory to us! The next few years brought on a lot of heartache and struggle for us as an immediate family, as well as in our collective families. Financial strain, disease, death, marital strains, heartbreaking doctor reports — just a lot of loss and hurt was being served up in every facet of our lives. It was hard. Yet in every tear that was and has been shed, lies a reminder that our pain has a purpose. So we soldier on…because one day we will harvest the abundance that comes from every seed that we have sown. One day we will see the blessing that is on the other side of the mountain. For now? For now we continue the climb. There have been many blessings already, and we are beginning to see the fruit of our love and obedience to God.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, You have been so faithful over the years. You promised that if we will just humble ourselves in obedience to You, You will never leave us to fight alone. I pray today that my life will always be a testament to what You can and will do when we believe. Like Joseph, may my heartaches always serve their purposes — to encourage others, and to bring honor and glory to Your name. Amen.