Storm (Day 5)

The middle of the storm is perhaps the worst part of it all. You cannot see where the storm began and yet you have no clue when it will end. Many times it feels as if it will last forever and there is no end in sight. This is where a person decides to give up or to hang on for dear life. It is the make or break moment. If you give up, then you die. But if you hold on you are only in for more pain.

It seems like it was just a day or so ago when it happened although it has been many years. I was in what perhaps was the tensest part of my life. I was at Army Basic Training (or IET as they call it now) and my wife was pregnant with our first child. Our first daughter was a heavyweight and the doctor recommended a C-section. The problem with that plan is that I had another month to go before I would be finished with my final classes and could come home.

While I was overwhelmed and worried since there was no communication and she could go into labor any day it was out of my hands and the decision to let me go early rested in the hands of much higher ranking people than myself. I had explained my situation properly up the chain of command hoped that they would have mercy on me and let me finish early.

Even though the situation worked out fine it was the most nervous weeks of my life. I was allowed to work extra with a training Sergeant who volunteered to stay after every day and I graduated two weeks early. The day after I made it home my daughter was born. God took care of us through it all. But during the actual ordeal I felt as if it would last forever.

And our storms in life are the same as the massive thunderstorm. It seems like it will last forever. It is only on the other side of the situation that we can see God’s hand in preserving us and taking care of us. Even if we caused the storm in the first place and have to live with the consequences of our actions we can still trust God to preserve us and continue to use us.

It was a very similar storm that Joseph found himself. Admittedly, Joseph had been proud and shared his dreams of his future authority over his older brothers and family (which was pretty much a slap in the face culturally speaking). But he did not deserve to be sold into slavery by the brothers who were jealous of his father’s favoritism towards Joseph.

Oh, and it got much worse. After establishing himself as a leader in the house of Potiphar and being promoted from common slave worker to head of the household he was accused of attempted rape and sent to prison. Trying to make the best of the situation he worked hard in prison and was eventually put in charge of almost the entire establishment. After that he was commanded to interpret a dream Pharaoh and his faith in God caused him to be placed as second in command of all of Egypt.

The end of this story is the chapter I want us to focus on today. Read Genesis chapter 45. Here we see the climax of Joseph’s ordeal and the restoration of relationship between Joseph and his brothers. Pay close attention to this part:

Genesis 45 (NLT):

[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. [5] But don’t be upset, and don’t be angry with yourselves for selling me to this place. It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives. [6] This famine that has ravaged the land for two years will last five more years, and there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. [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. 

What is valuable to note here is that God used the storms in Jacob’s life to do great things! And this is echoed through so many lives both in the Bible and all around us. While we are in the storm we cannot see the overall outcome. And even when it is over we cannot see in the immediate destruction around us the great things that will come from the storm.

But if the life of Joseph is any form of example it is that God uses the storms in our lives to make us and those around us stronger and closer. Who knows? Maybe the storm in your life right now will build or strengthen a relationship. Maybe it will save a marriage or even a life? Your experience could lead to you being able to share the pain of another person who is going through the same struggle.

So as we finish this topic of ‘the storm’ please keep faith and hope alive. Trust that God will take care of you and remember to do what you can to work to prepare for the storms of life, hold on tight through them, and rebuild after they are gone. God desires our holiness far above our happiness. Our temporary trials often bring us to deeper levels of faith and trust in our great God.

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