In a world that is constantly manicured, made up, and marketed sometimes life just stinks. You don’t get the job you hoped you would get. Your spouse leaves you for someone else. The company you were at downsized, or maybe you have had to let a dream for your life die. Life just stinks. Inevitably, when life stinks we ask ourselves two questions “Where are you, God, and what are you doing?”
17 years old. That’s how old I was when I felt God call me to become a pastor. Two more years of high school. Four more years of college. One completely failed ministry, which I started. Three different non-church jobs and I still wasn’t a pastor by the time I turned 25. Eight years I waited on the promise of God to show up. Eight years I worked faithfully to prepare myself for pastoral ministry and make something happen, but those eight years felt like God’s eternal waiting room that I would never get out of, and all along the process I kept asking myself and asking God, “Where are you? What are you doing?”
As you read this you might be able to resonate with feeling stuck in God’s waiting room. When we are stuck we feel like we have been thrown in a pit, and the more we try to climb ourselves out of the pit, the deeper the hole becomes. Let me encourage you though. You can rest easy knowing there is hope for you today despite the pit you find yourself stuck in. The hope comes from the answer to the questions, “Where are you, God, and what are you doing?”
Where are you God?
If you can remember the story of Joseph, then you will know that early in his life God gave him a dream that he would one-day rule over his whole family. That created some obvious tension between his family and him. This tension would eventually get him thrown into a pit and then sold into slavery. It seemed like all throughout Joseph’s life every time a good thing would happen a bad thing was just around the corner, but in the story of Joseph the author of Genesis gives us this phrase to help us understand Joseph’s predicaments. This phrase is repeated numerous times all through his story:
“The Lord was with Joseph.”
As we read Joseph’s story and as we live our own stories, this phrase teaches us that despite circumstances God is up to something. He is working and moving and active, but most importantly his presence is right there with us leading and guiding the entire process. So if you are stuck in a pit today, and you don’t know where God is, remember, “The Lord is with you.” Now that you understand God’s presence is constantly with you, the second question still looms in the back of your mind.
What are you doing, God?
In order to answer that question, I want to direct you to great blog written by Max Lucado called “What was meant for evil, God uses for good.” In that article Max Lucado is discussing the story of Joseph and he gives this incredible quote based upon Genesis 50:20. He says “In God’s hands intended evil becomes eventual good.” So what are you doing, God? Well the answer is he is taking the evil in our life and working all things out for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purposes. When life gets you down, dreams die, or relationships end, God is working. I know you can’t see it right now, and Joseph couldn’t see any hope when he was stuck in that pit. He couldn’t see that God was going to eventually make him number 2 in charge of all of Egypt, but what others meant for evil God can and does use for good.
“In God’s hands intended evil becomes eventual good.”
I couldn’t see what God was doing for the eight year waiting period between the moment God called me into ministry till the day I started working at a church, but looking back I can see God’s faithfulness through the entire process. His presence was constantly with me and working for me. I want to encourage you today by saying whatever pit you find yourself in
“God is with you and working for you”
If you want to go more in depth into this concept, then feel free to watch my message on Joseph from a few weeks ago.
Pastor Chris Weatherly
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