Do We Have To Bear Our Grief And Sorrow Alone?

Do We Have To Bear Our Grief And Sorrow Alone?

“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.” (Isaiah 53:4)

We know that our Redeemer has redeemed us from sin by paying for those sins while He suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the Cross of Calvary. If we repent for those sins then the ransom that justice demands is paid for. We no longer carry the weight of those sins around. It’s like we had never committed those sins.

Repenting is like having a great burden taken of you shoulders. Just as sin can weigh us down, so to can sorrow and grief weigh us down.

The same can be true of our griefs and sorrows. Christ The Lord, has born our grief’s and carried our sorrows already. Why do we insist on bearing them ourselves? We can come unto Jesus and let him help us through our sorrows and our grief. We do not need to face those feelings alone.

As repentance requires effort on our part, so does overcoming grief and sorrow. We have to put for effort toward overcoming out griefs and sorrows asking The Lord to help us. As we open the door to The Lord in our trying times, he can bear us up and give us comfort as we strive to overcome. But we have to open the door to Him first.

Do Christians Need To Worry?

Do Christians Need To Worry?

If asked the question “Do Christian Need To Worry?” I think most Christians would instinctively say “no” based on their faith and then go on about their lives without applying that faith into their daily living.

It seems we all worry about the future. Sometimes we worry about the our past and what it means to our future. It is human nature to worry about the unknown.

As humans we are fallible and that gives us all the more reason to worry. We know our experience level or lack of experience. We compare that to the task at hand which may be all the more reason to worry.

If you don’t understand the gospel message relative to the concept of worry then you are probably going to worry about life events regardless of your answer. If you are reading this article then you know that the gospel provides help dealing with worry. That’s a good start.

The gospel of Jesus Christ provides us with hope and confidence if we choose to follow the teachings related to the attitude of worry.

Let’s start with the popular scripture found in Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

Consider all the people in your life and ask yourself who do I really trust? I hope you have at least a few people to trust.  But then again, when we put our trust in fallible human beings, we are, in a way, like the foolish man who built his house upon the sand.  We need to be like the wise man who builds his house on a rock. The rock in this case is trusting in The Lord with all our heart.

The people we have chosen to trust here in mortality may be trust worthy up to the point of human frailty but Jesus Christ, our Redeemer is the rock upon which we can place our trust with supreme confidence that our trust will be rewarded, not betrayed.

With perfect trust or confidence in The Lord, we don’t need to worry. He will direct our paths.  Some Christians I have met worry about where or how  our paths will be directed as we trust in The Lord.  I understand the thought and have had similar feelings.

Consider what we are taught in Romans: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

The Lord will direct our paths for our own good and in a way that will build us up.  We need to accept that we are, as Christians supposed to seek God’s will and do it.  If we put our trust in Him, He will direct our paths. This alone should stop our worry.

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows…” (Isaiah 53:4) Through the atonement, Jesus Christ suffered for our sins, grief and sorrow.

Sometimes we worry about how our past will affect our future. If we exercise faith in Jesus Christ then we don’t need to hold onto the sorrows or grief of the past.

All this boils down to having faith in Jesus Christ and let Him bare our grief and carry our sorrow and let him direct our path. All we have to do to live a worry free life is to have continuous faith in our Savior and be happy to follow as He directs our paths.

How Fibromyalgia Affects My Daily Life – Pain

How Fibromyalgia Affects My Daily Life – Pain

The way Fibromyalgia affects my daily life can be summed up with two words, freedom and reliability.

Having Fibromyalgia is like putting an innocent person in shackles and taking him to jail. Except you don’t take off the shackles. His freedom is taken away. He can barely move around in the small six by eight-foot jail cell.

My jail cell of Fibromyalgia is made from pain and flu-like feelings all over my body with stiffness and muscle spasms acting as the jail house bars. Both the physical and mental fatigue of chronic pain along with memory problems are my shackles.

My rigid medication schedule is the lock on the door and the key to unlocking the door is ephemeral at best. The key to my jail cell comes and goes with no notice and no regularity. Like a hunter hunting his prey, patience is the key. The key being in my hand, one moment and gone the next due to the conflicting nature of this illness.

I can wake up feeling great and within minutes or hours I can feel a paralyzing sense of fatigue with pain trying to push its way out from the core of my body that feels like a dull aching pain that shoots burning, piercing pain in my brain that wants to explode but cannot, all it can do is register pain. I have no motivation. I remain still and ache. With the violent intensity of the pain and a case of fibro fog I forget to take pain relieving medicine that would take the edge off. Often I feel good enough to go to the doctor and then as soon as I walk through the door, I get hit with an overwhelming desire to sit down. I have good days and bad days. I have good moments and bad moments in the same day. The cycle between feeling pain and feeling good runs in hyper speed.

Although pain is the one constant in this disease, it has so many variables. Fibromyalgia is an illness of contradictions. It is a physical and emotional roller coaster of pain, agitation and emotion.

how_fibromylagia_affects_my_daily_life_pain

Fibromyalgia makes me and most patients hypersensitive to new pain as well as creating its own pain. Having the flu or a cold is fifty times worse for me or anyone with fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia takes the pain signals and amplifies them so a routine sore knee can feel like the last stages of arthritis before a knee replacement.

Along with countless other Fibro patients, I have fibro fog which makes it hard to remember names I knew ten years ago. I can remember a word I want to use. I know the definition and I know how to use the word in a sentence, but I can’t remember the word. I can’t remember what my wife told me ten minutes ago. I forget what I was thinking about five seconds earlier. I can be in the middle of a thought and ten to fifteen seconds later I realize I am thinking about something else.

I have to plan my activities to conserve energy for a required trip to the doctor or to attend Church or a movie. Most activities I want to do only occur when careful planning and having a good day coincide. The rest of the day is spent recuperating from the activity.

Often I find myself coming home from a small errand or trip to the store only to find myself still recuperating four hours later.

Having the lack of freedom makes planning future events very difficult because one bad day can wreck my well-made plans. That’s where reliability comes into the picture. In spite of the well-made plans you cannot be reliable for those who are included in your plans. A flare up or waking up to a bad day can throw your well-made plans into the fire. With Fibromyalgia, the only constant is contradictions and inconsistencies.

Letting friends and family down is not only hard on them. It is also very hard on me. It is usually easier to seclude myself from others so I don’t have to let them down.

Since fibromyalgia is an illness of contradictions and inconsistencies I never know what tomorrow will bring let alone what the next minute will bring. Because of this I can’t rely on my plans an hour from now or a week from now. You have to take life day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute. That’s how fibromyalgia affects me day by day. This is just a sample of how Fibromyalgia affects my daily life.

Troy Wagstaff ©

Purpose In Trials

Purpose In Trials

Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. (John 15:2)

How do we apply this scripture in our lives? If we are disciples of Jesus Christ then we are the branches that are bearing fruit. The branches that are not bearing fruit are everyone else that is not a disciple of Christ.

This paper will look at the branches that bear fruit, those of us who choose to follow Jesus of Nazareth. Meaning of purge is to remove or cleanse.

If you have a fruit tree, you want to harvest the fruit of the tree. That is the measure of its creation, to put forth fruit. You remove any and all branches that do not produce fruit. The branches left are the ones bearing fruit. With those fruit bearing branches you prune them after the harvest. To prune them is to strategically cut the branches back so that they will devote the energy of the tree to producing more fruit the next season. That’s also why you cut the worthless branches off.

Doing all this work to a fruit tree takes an average fruit tree and makes it far more valuable by making it produce much more fruit. Doing this yearly keeps the tree healthy and productive. Every year some branches will die off and new branches will grow. It becomes a cycle that will keep the tree alive for a long and productive time.

As fruitful branches of the tree we have to go through the pruning process, on a regular basis to be even more fruitful, and thus more valuable. Applied to us, we grow as we get pruned by the caring, expert fruit grower. Christ knows our potential and He knows how to guide us to that potential, through expertly crafted trials and tribulations.

Having said all that, not all trials and tribulations come from The Master. Some trials come from the consequences of bad or sinful choices. If we are humble and repent for those sinful choices we can learn from those consequences and become fruitful again.

There are other types of trial and tribulation that come to us through no fault of our own. We can grow and become more valuable and a stronger Christian through The Lords helps. It’s up to us to determine the source of the trial just as it is up to us to determine how we respond to the trial and whether or not we will allow ourselves to grow according to The Lords will or get tired and rebel against The Lord.

But rest assured that for whatever trial or tribulation we go through, we can make it purposeful and fruitful if we go through it with The Lords help and let His master hand guide to the right outcome.

Parable of The Shoe Laces

Parable of The Shoe Laces

I remember once, some time ago, a pair of black leather Sunday shoes. They were very comfortable and they looked good, and even though they were a few years old they were still in style. They had a shoelace that was different from traditional shoelaces. The shoelaces were rounded, almost like they were very small rope. No matter how tight I tied the knot, a short while later the shoelaces slipped out of the knot and the shoes were loose again.

With time, the inevitable happened and a shoelace broke. I picked up a pair of black shoe laces and came home and put the new shoelaces on my shoes. The shoelaces seemed out of place. For one thing, the shoelaces were flat like a traditional shoelace. Also, the shoelaces were a new black and the shoes were an old black. Even though they were the same color, there was a contrast.

The next day was Sunday and as I finished getting dressed I put on my black Sunday shoes. I noticed that the knot seemed to pull tighter. I still noticed the contrast between the new black and old black. Not a big deal but I did notice.

Hours later, when I took off my black Sunday shoes, I realized that I was undoing the same knot that I had put on the shoes when I got dressed that morning. All day long, the shoe laces held. No additional knot tying.

The Moral of The Story

Through some adversity or tribulation, the breaking of my shoe lace resulted in replacing the laces with new shoe laces that worked better. Holding the knot all day. The contrast in old back verses new black was minor. I got used to it really quick. Those very comfortable shoes were the best pair of shoes I ever owned.

Things might go wrong or get broke but with The Lord in our life, things get fixed or replaced and the situation is far better than it was before. Leave it in the hands of The Master.

 

Troy Wagstaff ©

The Rose Bush: Parables From the Rose Garden

The Rose Bush: Parables From the Rose Garden

Some of my earliest childhood memories are of my mom and dad working in the garden. My mom loved to garden, she helped my dad in the vegetable garden but was an artist in her flower garden. She didn’t just plant flowers and watch them grow, she was an artist and the plants and bushes were her paint and the meticulously cultivated soil was the canvas.

She would accent the flowers with attractive landscaping rocks and used rose bushes as a back drop on one part of the garden and three huge Lilac bushes in the northeast corner of the garden. The beautiful colors of the garden bloomed all summer long as each flower plant was planted strategically so there were always several flowers blooming in all its majestic splendor.

Every winter my mom would plan her garden. Keeping in mind, the rose bushes and perennials she would decide how to fill in the gaps where the annuals would go. She would see in her mind what the garden would look like and work to achieve her vision.

lessons_from_the_rose_garden1Additionally, she liked to experiment in her garden. She would spend many hours in the winter and early spring going through seed catalogs deciding what kinds of flowers she would like to add to the garden. Every few years she would add a tree or two. She always seemed to want to experiment with nut trees. She never seemed to have much luck with the nut trees but she planted some beautiful flowering ornamental trees.

Even her occasional failures with the nut trees would have a happy conclusion.

One year one of the nut trees that she planted started to die sometime in early summer. She did all that she could do, to try and revive the tree making more than one trip to the nursery for information on products to use to salvage the tree. She pruned, trimmed and fertilized that poor black almond, all to no avail.

The tree gave up the struggle and died in the late fall. The air was getting chilly so my parents decided to cut it down in the spring.

With my moms inclination to try new things . . . Somehow the topic came up of cutting the tree down and use it for our Christmas tree. That black almond tree was only a few years old and wasn’t very large. My mom had a vision for that non-traditional Christmas tree.

Now the air was down right freezing, but my dear old dad cut down the black almond and flocked the tree in the spirit of trying something new, we didn’t know if the flock would stick to branches but it did. After stringing small clear lights and ornaments on the tree, it turned out to be the best Christmas tree we ever had. It was unique and natural and created an ambience that we didn’t expect, but certainly enjoyed.

One year she decided to create a small vineyard with two types of grapes. A seedless green type of grape for eating and a red variety of grape for grape juice. Dad built a fair size Arbor for the grapes to go on. This project lasted several years because of time grapes need to mature and produce fruit.

rose_bush_articleConsidering our climate, the grape project was relatively successful, more so for the juicing grapes than the eating grapes. When the grape project was fully mature, they managed to get about twelve quarts of red grape juice. Because there were so few jars of grape juice they were reserved for special occasions. One such special occasion was New Year’s eve. We would mix Sprite with the grape juice to add a little fizz and stretch the grape juice. To this day I’ve never tasted a better grape juice than the juice my mom’s vineyard produced.

For some reason my mom stopped the grape project and had my dad tear down the Arbor. This grape project took a lot of garden space. My mom decided that she would create a rose garden in that space.

This time the Rose Garden project stayed. That rose garden stayed there until after my father died and was still there when my mom sold the family home.

My mom always enjoyed decorating family graves with roses from her garden. She got very proficient at raising these roses and keeping them pruned so they were continually flowering all summer long.

My mom was a master gardener, not by any formal training although she read a book or two here and there. She gained her skill and knowledge by experience and through countless hours working in her garden. It was also a God given talent for her.

The years went by and my parents got old were not able to keep up with the size of the garden they had. Our family house sat on a plot of ground about 1/3 of an acre.

By now I was moved out of the house married and had a child or two. My dad was in failing health and unable to work in the garden at all. I would frequently get called to go help my mom in the garden by pulling weeds, moving rocks, planting a tree or cutting down a tree and all the other stuff she relied on my dad to do.

I would spend many Saturday mornings pulling weeds and helping around the garden. But as often as I could, I would talk my dad into going fishing on Saturday mornings, both because I love to fish with my dad and to get out of pulling weeds. I never have liked the necessary part of gardening.

It didn’t take much talking to get my dad to go fishing. We had a perfect spot on the river where it was easy for him to access. By the time we got back it was too hot to work in the garden is so we would have to put it off for another week. My mom didn’t get too mad because my dad was having fun fishing but the weeds would keep growing.

Slowly but surely I talked my mom into adding a linear foot of grass to the garden every year or two because it was easier to mow grass than pull weeds. She did not like the idea, but she conceded to the necessity of it. Growing older slows one down in garden work. However, by the time she sold the house the garden was only reduce by a third which wasn’t much considering how large the garden was.

Like I said, the rosebushes were an important part of the garden and keep in mind that she also had a part of the garden which was nothing but roses. Thinking back on it, I would guess that she had thirty-five or forty rosebushes throughout her garden.

Over time she started to modify her garden so that it would require less work and upkeep by letting her perennials grow larger taking more room and growing grass at my urging.

Then came perhaps the saddest point in her life as far as the garden goes when she couldn’t keep up with all of the roses. She asked me to trim the roses one spring Saturday. She was having to give up her dear child, the roses, to me. I was willing to do it but I didn’t know how. I knew how to use the pruning shears by cutting back other bushes in the garden but I knew there was a trick to pruning the roses.

I asked my mom “how do I trim the roses?” Her reply was just to cut them down a little bit and to cut off all the dead wood from the winter. Ordinarily those instructions might’ve been enough, but I knew my mom, and I knew if I didn’t do it right the first time that I would have to go out and do it again and again and again until I got right. I learned early on to get very explicit instructions so that I would do the various jobs to her satisfaction the first time, saving me a lot of aggravation.

I asked my mom again how do I trim the roses but I was more specific and said how many inches down should I cut the stems? She responded “use your best judgment.” Since I wasn’t getting any where with the detailed instructions I wanted, I went out to the Rose Garden and started trimming.

The rosebushes were about three to four feet tall and very thick. I experimented with the first Rosebush by cutting back all the dead stems. I also knew enough about gardening to realize that these bushes needed to be thinned out a little so the sun light could get into the middle of the bush. By the time I got done with the first Rosebush, it stood about four inches off the ground with about five or six stems coming from the base of the bush. Oops.

Never before had I done a job in the garden that didn’t require at least two tries. In her particular eyes there was always a little more that could be done to get it right. After contemplating this situation of a stubby, ugly rose bush I decided that the best thing would be to make all the other rosebushes look the same. I’m not sure why I thought that, but that’s what I did.

After cleaning up all the debris I took a deep breath I called my mom out of the house to look at the completed job. Mom came out at the back door and down the stairs onto the patio. She looked at the rosebushes and in confusion or disbelief, she walked on the grass getting closer to the Rosebush garden. I wasn’t sure what to think of that, but there wasn’t anything I could do now. And with some relief, I was glad that I was an adult and married and not able to be grounded. She got a little closer and then exclaimed with exasperation “oh Troy, what have you done to my rose garden?”

Hoping that I could persuasively make sense of it all in my explanation I said “I did what you told me to do, I use my best judgment.” That statement helped, but not to the extent that I had hoped for. She went on to say “don’t you know any better than that?” Easily I replied, “no, I don’t. You never taught me how to prune roses.”

I was surprised that the next thing she said was “well, let’s hope they grow back.”

lessons_from_the_rose_gardenThat’s not the end of the story of the rosebushes. A few months later I and my family were visiting my mom and dad and having a barbecue on the patio in the backyard. I looked at the Rosebush garden and was stunned by the vibrant growth that had occurred to every Rose bush. Not only had they grown tall, really tall, but the Rose Garden was a sea of variegated beautiful rose colors with blossoms and buds in an endless array of coloration.

As we were eating our dinner on the picnic table my mom said to me what do you think of the rosebushes? This is the best year I’ve had in the Rose Garden. I admitted that I was surprised they survived by trimming incident. They were gorgeous.

There is a moral to the story, as a result of the accidental but drastic trimming, the rosebushes performed better than ever fulfilling the measure of their creation.

The application of the story is that we can grow from the adversity that we face. Sometimes we have trials and tribulations that are like a skilled gardener expertly trimming the roses just right and like the rosebushes turning out bright and beautiful we can turn out better and more fulfilled than we otherwise would have.

I was not skilled at trimming roses. What I did to those roses was nothing short of a life altering event in each of the rosebushes lives. Yet, with my mother’s tender loving care to those rosebushes by properly fertilizing and watering them, they overcame that life altering event that I caused them and they became better, bigger and more beautiful than they ever had been before.

Sometimes the trials and tribulations that we will go through are deliberate and under the control of a loving, caring Creator. Other times we go through trials and tribulations as a consequence of our behavior.

Yet, at other times we go through trials and tribulations through no fault of our own, like drastic pruning. Sometimes these trials can be life altering events, but with the tender loving care of our merciful Heavenly Father we can become taller, bigger, brighter and more beautiful than ever before.

Let us not be afraid of being pruned by a master gardener or even cut back dramatically by reckless acts of mortality, in the end, with The Saviors help, we will truly blossom in all the glory possible.

Joseph And The Coat Of Many Colors

Joseph And The Coat Of Many Colors

To all good Christians who find themselves, through no fault of their own, plagued with all manner of affliction, pain,trials and tribulations; to all those humble Christians who may be prone to ask “do I have the strength to go on?”, “can I continue to fight?”, and “will anything work out?”. To all of you, I want to share one of my favorite stories from the Bible. This is the story of Joseph, known for his coat of many colors.

All we need to do is look to this great historical figure found in the Bible to find the answers to these questions which will also give a great deal of hope and peace for your inner conflicts and outward struggles.

This is a story of bad things happening to a good person. This story shows that Jesus can be with you always. It is amazing what can be learned in a story where a seventeen year old can be kidnaped, sold into slavery and be falsely accused of a felonious act which results in imprisonment only to rise to prominence in the King of Egypt’s court.

The story of Joseph of Egypt is a story of hope, faith and perseverance. It’s the perfect story to illustrate the doctrine of Romans 8:28 where it says “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

Joseph was around seventeen years old when his father Jacob sent him after his brothers who were tending their father’s sheep.

Joseph had numerous siblings, eleven of which were brothers. These eleven brothers hated Joseph. Every one of those brothers had sinned and some grievously. Their animosity toward Joseph was unfounded and based on sinful desires and unrighteous behavior, pride and jealousy.

These twelve brothers are the twelve tribes of Israel. Eleven of the tribes (or brothers) were gathered at their base camp keeping watch over their large flock of sheep when they saw Joseph approach from a long way off.

As they saw Joseph making his way to camp, they talked among themselves expressing a desire to kill him. Reuben voiced his opinion not to kill him.

As Joseph walked into camp most of the brothers over powered him and through Joseph into the pit.

They tore off his coat of many colors that father Jacob had made for Joseph and tore it into pieces dipping a piece of the coat into goats’ blood. They would show their father Jacob the coat and tell him that Joseph was killed and devoured by a wild animal.

Rather than kill Joseph, Judah suggested that they sell him to Middionites going towards Egypt.

These slave traders and merchantmen paid twenty pieces of silver for Joseph, the common price for a slave of Joseph’s age. Joseph was taken against his will to Egypt and sold to Potiphar the Captain of The Guard and an officer in Pharaohs court.

Joseph was now a slave to Potiphar. He was almost the victim of murder, he was beaten by his brothers whom he loved and he was kidnaped and sold into slavery by his brethren. Now he had to start his life over again as a slave.

God was with Joseph at all points in his life. All that Joseph did was favored of the Lord and everything he touched was blessed by the Lord and well favored. Potiphar didn’t take long to see that Joseph was very industrious and successful. The Captain of The Guards saw Joseph’s success and knew he was well favored of his God.

Joseph was promoted and eventually served as the head of the house hold of Potiphar. The evil seductress that was Potiphar’s wife was attracted to Joseph and tried to seduce Joseph. Being a just and virtuous man, Joseph refused to sleep with his master’s wife. Not only did he turn her down, he ran from the house as fast as he could to avoid any further temptation. Joseph also refuses the temptress’s advances out of loyalty to Potiphar.

Sadly, Potiphar’s wife grabbed a hold of his tunic as Joseph was running out of the house. She started making all kinds of noise and had Joseph’s tunic in her hands and showed Potiphar the shirt. She told Potiphar that Joseph and tried to rape her and while she was busy beating Joseph off, she managed to grab his tunic in the struggle. Needless to say, Potiphar was very upset and put Joseph in prison, the same prison where the Kings prisoners were held.

Now after all that Joseph had been through, and being unjustly accused of rape and being thrown in prison. Joseph didn’t get mad at the Lord, he accepted the will of the Lord and as a result found mercy from Him.

Part of that mercy was that the keeper of the prison started to favor Joseph and treated him kindly. After a time, the prison keeper entrusted Joseph with the responsibility of running the prison. The Lord was with Joseph again, and everything that Joseph did while serving the prison keeper as a prisoner was prosperous and efficient.

It is important to note that after every trial and every trouble, Joseph was blessed. This is a testimony to us that God is with us always if we continue to be faithful to Him.

While Joseph was in prison serving out his sentence, he came across the Kings Butler and Baker. These two men had been sent to prison by the Pharaoh.

After a period of time they both had dreams that they did not understand. The content of the dream vexed the Butler and the Baker and they couldn’t understand what the dream meant. Joseph was making his rounds through the prison and he came across the Butler and asks him why he looked so upset?

The Butler said he had received a dream the night before and he was perplexed about the dream and frustrated by it. The Butler felt like it was important to understand this dream but couldn’t figure out the meaning of it. The Butler told Joseph the dream and Joseph was able to interpret it.

Joseph told the Butler that in three days he would be released from prison and Pharaoh would restore him to his position as Butler. Needless to say, the Butler was very happy about the dream he had received. Joseph told the Butler when you find favor in the king’s eyes please tell him about me so that he might set me free. The Butler willingly agreed.

Joseph then interprets the Bakers dream. He told the Baker that in three days Pharaoh would take him out of prison, remove his head and place it in the tree where the birds would eat his head.

Three days later there was a birthday party for the king of Egypt. The Butler was taken out of prison and restored to his job and the Baker was taken out of prison, killed and his head was placed in a tree for the birds.

The Butler for whatever reason did not tell Pharaoh about Joseph in the prison. So Joseph continued to languish in prison serving the prison keeper and doing his time.

Sometime later, the Pharaoh had a dream and no one in his court could interpret his dream. The Pharaoh was troubled, wanting to know the meaning of his dream. The Butler then realized that he had forgot to tell the Pharaoh about Joseph who was in prison and who had interpreted his dream and the late Baker’s dream. After telling the King about Joseph in prison, Pharaoh called Joseph out of prison and told him his dream.

Joseph interpreted the dream saying that there would be seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine. Joseph suggested a few things that the Pharaoh should do to take advantage of the seven years of plenty to prepare for the seven years of famine.

The Pharaoh put Joseph in charge of this program to store a portion of each year’s harvest for seven years. The king of Egypt made Joseph the ruler over all of Egypt. The only person higher than Joseph throughout the land was the Pharaoh, himself.

After the seven years of plenty there was a great famine, not only in Egypt but over all the face of the earth. People from all over the country would come to Joseph to buy grain. Eventually people from other countries came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph.

This is the quintessential story that illustrates that bad things happen to good people. Never once did Joseph complain or murmur. Never once did Joseph blame God for all his misfortune. Joseph could’ve given up. But just the opposite happened, Joseph loved God with his whole soul and refused to sleep with Potiphar’s wife to honor Gods commandments of chastity and keep his virtue. He is then rewarded by imprisonment.

Joseph is not bitter. Joseph loves God and wants to serve him and stay true to all of God’s commandments. Joseph was a four-time victim of wrongdoing and false accusations. Did Joseph ever play the role of the victim? Emphatically no! Every time Joseph’s life took a turn for the worse he was true and faithful to his Lord and each time the Lord blessed him.

The tribulation that is Joseph’s life is not yet over with. He is then faced with a very great challenge to choose to forgive or not to forgive his eleven brothers.

This last test almost seems harder than actually being kidnaped or sold into slavery or falsely accused. Joseph knows his God, and he knows the teachings of his Lord and he knows that he is required to forgive all men. To the credit of Joseph, he forgives his brothers and sends them back to bring his father and the rest of their family to live with him in Egypt.

Why do bad things happen to good people? Can God work with broken people, and surely Joseph was broken more than once, at least physically and mentally but not spiritually? God does work with broken people, he heals them or strengthens them and uses them for his own good.

Joseph didn’t know the end game to his life. But he did know that he was to be diligent, and to keep on serving the Lord in any way he could, always keeping the commandments of God and striving to be the best he could be.

For Joseph, the end game was to not only save his father’s house, the twelve tribes of Israel, and all of Egypt, but to save the whole world from famine and starvation. Joseph played a huge part in God’s dealings with his children during that time on earth.

Every one of us is broken, in one way or another. Each of us has been victimized in one way or another. Each of us have had trials and tribulations in our lives. And in some ways, we are like Joseph. Things have happened to us through no fault of our own, whether they are poor health, chronic pain, rape, or the victim of some other terrible crime or life-threatening illness. All of us have had or will have many difficult or trying episodes in our lives..

Because of Jesus suffering in the garden of Gethsemane and on the cross on Calgary, he has felt our pain and carried our sorrow and paid the price of our sins. Through Jesus Christ, the parts of us that are broken can be fixed. We can be healed.

If we strive to understand God’s will for us and humbly submit ourselves to whatever the Lord wants us to do, we can be healed and given the strength to live out the rest of our life in peace.

Throughout all of Joseph’s tumultuous life he lived in peace. He had troubles, trials and tribulations which he always meet with grace and peace because he was always devoted to his Lord. So as we try to live out the rest of our life in peace, keep in mind that does not mean we won’t still have trials and tribulations, but we will have peace throughout our days on earth.

Understanding these principles taught by the story of Joseph in Egypt, we can truly understand the following verse: ” And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

By Troy Wagstaff

 

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