Last week, I found myself murmuring and complaining about a life-changing situation that my family is in. Oh, I wasn’t complaining on the outside. I was still saying all of the platitudes that an “older, wiser, middle-aged” person should say to anyone who would ask me about it, but on the inside I was frustrated and sad and perhaps even growing a little bitter.
God, in His Providence, led me to think on the life of Joseph, through a series of podcasted sermons by *Alistair Begg. This boy was hated and beaten by his brothers, thrown in a pit and sold as a slave to passing merchants. He was seduced by his new boss’s wife, and then framed when he didn’t jump into bed with her. This part of his life concluded by him being thrown into prison for a crime he did not commit. Do you see the potential for bitterness in any of those circumstances? And yet, through it all, he kept his testimony upright and pure and blameless. And because of this, God went on to use Joseph in a mighty way.
My thoughts turned towards the many friends and acquaintances I have known who have been through some really tough times. Some of them could never move beyond their tragic circumstances. They ended up caught in a mire from which they could not extricate themselves because, instead of trusting in God’s Sovereignty and moving forward, they dwelled on the circumstance and grew angry and bitter and stayed broken. In contrast, I thought on those who, by the grace of God and with an admirable determination, chose to move forward and use the trial as an opportunity to give God glory and to share the Gospel. I have seen both examples and I knew which one I wanted to be.
Illnesses and deaths of loved ones, distressed and broken marriages, and financial struggles happen every day. Broken relationships and failing bodies are a painful part of our world. Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you just wanted to scream, “But this isn’t how I wanted my life to be!” ? I certainly have.
You see, it really comes down to submitting ourselves to the will of God. Instead, we often find ourselves dwelling on the could haves, the should haves, and the might haves. But we need to stop and say “It is what it is.”
It is what it is.
We aren’t able to turn back the clock and we are given no “do-overs”. So for God’s glory and for our own spiritual health and testimony, we need to stop dwelling on the past and move forward in humble submission, no matter what God has allowed in our lives.
May we be like Joseph, strong and sure in faith, obedient and upright in action, and determined to move forward, no matter what life may bring.
*Below is the link to the first part of the series on Joseph by Alistair Begg. The MP3s are free of charge. If you find yourself in a situation where you are having a hard time trusting God, this series of sermons will be a great encouragement and challenge to you.