The Gift of Peace

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I never in a million years thought the gift of peace and healing would come to me through a familiar old testament story, but as I read through the story of Joseph’s life, God touched me deep inside.

All along, I have clung to the fact that God is sovereign and in control; that nothing I have experienced ever surprised Him and he knew exactly how everything would play out.  I knew that in my head.

His hand has been evident through the circumstances, even things from my childhood worked to prepare me for being Big Bro’s mama.  Part of me has wanted to shake my fists at God and say, really?  You gave me all those hard times just to prepare me for more trials?  But the other part of me is grateful that He didn’t throw me into severe trial with out preparation first!

So as I read through Joseph’s story, I could clearly see how God allowed all the horrible things Joseph went through emotionally and physically to happen.  It was also very clear that there was a higher purpose and a third side to the story, for God was parenting Joseph and giving him the life experiences he would need to live out the purpose for which he was created.

He went from spoiled brat who looked out for himself to highly esteemed leader who looked out for others.  Joseph’s story is one of personal journey and personal growth at the hand of a sovereign God.

Each step of the way, God brought him to a higher level.  First he allowed him to be overly loved by his father.  Then he broke him down by ridicule and abandonment by his brothers and put him in a completely strange place.  God brought him to a place where he was completely dependent on Him.

Then he placed him in Potiphar’s house working as a lowly servant, raised him up to leadership with more and more responsibility and then repeated the process within the prison.

God taught him about the Egyptian culture through his experiencing it.  No doubt it was very different from life in a Hebrew family.  He could never have managed life as a high ranking official if he didn’t know the social and cultural customs of the people we was leading.  All of that hardship prepared him for the greatness he did.

If this peace I am experiencing is a calm before another storm, I don’t know.  But I do know this:  I am in the the hands of a loving God who has my best interests in mind.  And if there is more he needs me to learn, I am surrendered to His will and plan.  He has brought me safely this far and His grace will keep leading me on, just as he did for Joseph.

One other thing I noticed, is that God didn’t leave any strings untied.  God didn’t turn Joseph’s life upside down and leave him in a mess.  He fully made everything right- Joseph was reconciled to his family and the events that brought about his training were completed.  God turned his world upside down and then fully set it right again.

I believe that we can expect the same from God in our lives as well.  God will turn our lives upside down and we will come out on the other side a different person that when we started.  If we truly embrace that perspective, we will be able to trust God through anything he brings our way.

Often, God uses other people in our lives to bring about his will and shape us.  Sometimes other people bring messages of hope and encouragement, but other times, God will use people in ways that hurt us, just like how God used Joseph’s brothers.  Forgiveness towards those who hurt us comes when we can embrace that it was all of God’s design and that what other people did to us was not necessarily them but God working through them.  During Joseph’s reconciliation, he was very clear that he didn’t want his brothers to feel badly about how they treated him.  Three times, he tells them that it was God who brought him to Egypt.  He was not angry with the people who God used to shape his life and neither should we.

When we lay down our expectations and need for control, we surrender to God’s plan and are able to accept and even embrace His plan for our lives.  When God brings us to this place, it is where we are given the gift of peace.  Through Joseph’s story I was given the gift of peace as I fully surrendered to and embraced God’s plan for my life, both the good times and the trials.

Joseph’s story is one that should challenge our faith, encourage us to lean in, trust God and embrace the trials God brings into our lives rather than fight them.  It should bring us to love God even more and leave us at peace.

So as I read through Joseph’s story I was given the gift of peace.  My life came into focus as I fully surrendered to and embraced God’s plan for my life, both the good times and the trials. What I knew in my head finally reached my heart.  The peace and healing that followed is something I have not experienced before. At least for right now, the restlessness in my mind is gone and there is a lightness in my spirit that is refreshing.  I am at peace.

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