The Maze of Suffering: week 11

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When life seems like a maze and you wonder what is going on, you are not alone.

I am going to give you another book recommendation. Thanks to the kindness of a friend, I have been reading The One Year Book of Discovering Jesus in the Old Testament. Author Nancy Guthrie must be no stranger to suffering as she and her husband cohost a GriefShare video series. I don’t know her story, but I am going to post part of her devotional for your encouragement and mine. Her March 6th entry is titled, “Fruitfulness in Suffering”.

” At the very beginning of his covenant relationship with his chosen people, God told them about the tremendous suffering that was ahead for them: ‘You can be sure that your descendants will be strangers in a foreign land, where they will be oppressed as slaves for 400 years.’ (Genesis 15:13)

God’s people would suffer, but it would not be wasted, meaningless suffering. It would be fruitful suffering. They would emerge from Egypt with great wealth and great in number. How would they become ‘strangers in a foreign land’? Through the suffering of Israel’s beloved son, Joseph. 

Joseph suffered the abuse of his brothers’ jealousy as they sold him off to a caravan of slave traders heading for Egypt. There Joseph worked as a slave until he suffered as a result of the false accusations from Potiphar’s wife that put him in prison. He suffered being forgotten in prison for many years before he emerged to become second in command to Pharoah.

But, when he was released, his suffering did not leave him embittered. In fact, he celebrated what God had done in his life through his suffering in the naming of his sons: ‘Joseph named his older son Manasseh, for he said, God has made me forget all my troubles and everyone in my father’s family. Joseph named his second son Ephraim, for he said, God has made me fruitful in this land of my grief.'(Genesis 41:51-52)

Joseph was able to look at his suffering and see that it was not wasted; it was fruitful. God was accomplishing something good through all the hardship and hurt he experienced.

Likewise, Jesus, the greater Joseph, was willing to suffer, confident that his suffering would bear much fruit. The writer of Hebrews captured the fruitful suffering of Jesus: ‘Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered. In this way, God qualified him as a perfect High Priest, and he became the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey him.’ (Hebrews 5:8-9)”

I had already mentioned my hero Joseph in another post. His statement in Genesis 50:20, “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good,  in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.” This is the Romans 8:28 of the Old Testament! All those years of pain and hardship did not make him arrogant or bitter.

Remember, dear sister in Christ, you are not alone. Praying God grants you faith and encouragement today in the middle of the maze.

 

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