In the Old Testament you can read the story of Joseph, who got sold into slavery by his brothers. Boys and girls, selling your siblings into slavery is wrong! Just because a roving band of gypsies comes by and offers to take little Johnny or Susie off your hands doesn’t mean you should sell them. Besides the going rate for a brother or sister is pretty low, I tried to sell my brothers more than once, and couldn’t get anything for them. I even offered to pay one guy to take Tim, but no dice. But I digress…
Through twists and turns that would make an incredible Hollywood movie, Joseph ends up accused in a scandal, forgotten in prison, and eventually made one of the highest ranking people in the kingdom. See, I tried to sell my brothers because I wanted the best for them. Yeah, that’s it.
Then a famine ravages Joseph’s homeland. His brothers are forced to come and kneel at his feet and ask for grain. They don’t recognize Joseph, but he recognizes them at once. It would be kind of hard to forget the faces of the guys who sold you to gypsies. After messing with their heads a bit, Joseph finally reveals himself to his long lost brothers. Their response is typical: “Oh, great, now you’re going to kill us!”
Instead Joseph responds with what has become one of my favorite Bible verses. In Genesis 50:20 Joseph tells his brothers, “Don’t you see, you planned evil against me but God used those same plans for my good, as you see all around you right now—life for many people.”(The Message)
In my life I have seen this verse proven over and over again. I have watched seemingly bad situations turn around for me on more than one occasion. Times where someone tried to get me in trouble at work, only to end up looking bad by doing it. Even one of the most traumatic things in my ministry, being voted out of a church, led me to totally refocus my ministry and get back to basics. That horrific situation led me back to the Valley, to the Sheriff’s Office, and set the stage for Remnant, the church I now co-pastor. Without that horrible situation I would not have pastored a church like Remnant.
So when Jeremiah and I got some bad news for Remnant early in the life of the church, I tried not to stress out about it. I knew that God was going to come through in an awesome way. And He has!
From a first service of about fifteen people, and three different locations, Remnant has grown to between 80 and 100 people. It has been amazing to see what God can do.
How does this tie in to the story of Joseph? Glad you asked! Joseph found himself in some dire straits after his brothers messed him over, “You planned evil against me…”. But over and over again, God showed his favor for Joseph and turned lemons into lemonade, “but God used those same plans for my good.” Joseph went from shepherd boy to slave to prisoner to exalted advisor to the king. Quite a journey, and God was there every step of the way.
There must have been days when Joseph threw up his hands and wanted to give up. The only problem is that if Joseph gave up when he was a slave or prisoner, he never would have ended up the exalted advisor to the king.
If my co-pastors and I had given up when we got that early bad news, we wouldn’t be where we are now. Remnant would have died, and who knows how many lives would have been left without someone to impact them for Christ. And we believe the best is yet to come for Remnant!
So get up, dust off your britches and start plugging away. You might be a slave or prisoner today, but the palace could be just around the corner. You never know what God is going to do next!
Excited about what tomorrow brings… Jerry