Having grown up in the church, I have a pretty solid knowledge of the stories of the Bible, especially the Old Testament, so I've made a point of following the reading plan in a different version than I grew up with, so I can stay focused a bit, instead of just skimming over - Creation, Noah, Abraham, Isaac.....I know how this goes.
Two weeks ago the sermon was on Joseph, another story I know well. One thing I didn't realize though was the lack of credit that God gets in the story of Joseph. If you read through the passages of Joseph in Egypt, God doesn't really come up - not until the end, anyways. And that's the part that got me. My kids have all memorized this passage for school, and I always kind of thought it was a bit of a random verse to learn, but it's quickly becoming one of my favorites.
Genesis 50:20 reads "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives." Now, obviously, Joseph was speaking to his brothers about their having sold him into slavery, and it being God's plan that through that many would be saved from the famine in Egypt. But, as the New Testament church, we can take that into our own lives as well. I think this goes along well with one of my long-time favorite passages, Romans 8:28 - "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." And again, in Jeremiah 29:11 - "For I know the plans I have for you', declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
There is so much pain and suffering in our world - not only out in the world, but right here. Just this morning we heard of the passing of a member of our church, leaving his wife here on her own. She's journeyed through so much in her life, and now she finds herself in tragedy again. A young man from our church underwent two surgeries this week to remove a tumor, and now his parents are waiting with him for the pathology report, praying for a report of a benign tumor.
We can all look at our lives, and see the bad, the hard, the heartache. But it's not always that we also get to look back and see how God has been working. I was talking with one of the pastors this morning, and he said "Monica, look at all of the change in your life in the last 2 years!" And it's true. It's been a big couple of years around here, and it has not been easy. And again I'm amazed at where God has taken me.
2 years ago, I felt so alone, and so stuck, trying to search out God's will for my life, wanting desperately to serve Him, and not knowing how. Fast forward to today, and I am overwhelmed with thanksgiving.
- My kids are doing well - things are not without their struggles, and I'm not blind to the things that we're still working through, but I'm so thankful for these three blessings that God has given me.
- I have an amazing new career, working in such an important ministry. It's a job that has all the elements that I love, is challenging, and I'm making a difference.
- Financially, things are getting settled down - bankruptcy is in the past, bills are getting paid on time, and we're moving forward.
- I started university this week - who would have thought? Big thanks to Pastor Ian for the push. :)
- This week's big news? We're moving! Come the end of the month, we're going to be settled into our own house in Uplands - it's beautiful, and it will be ours. The kids will each have their own room, there's a dishwasher, there's even a hot tub. So blessed!
2 years later, I can see how I'm not alone. God has surrounded me with so many people - don't get me wrong, there's many lonely times, but I know that there are so many who love me and my kids.
- My family - couldn't ask for better. As I like to tell people, we're like a traveling party, there's just that many of us. And we're growing - just this week, little Emberly Hope joined the Wind family. :)
- My church family has become so near and dear - after talking with Pastor Ken this morning, I walked away feeling as though through this whole journey, the church has been standing behind us, cheering us on. What amazing gift God has given us in community.
- Good friends who are always there - whether that's for Friday night dessert, house shopping, talking me down off the ceiling when I'm freaking out...you name it, they're there.
2 years ago, I would have never dreamed this is where I'd be - that this was God's plan for my life. I'm still stunned. But it just all ties back to Joseph - God meant it for good. And again in Romans - God is working for my good. And again in Jeremiah - God has a plan.
Going back to my Reformed roots, I think the Heidelberg Catechism Lord's Day 1 sums it all up pretty good.....
Q. What is your only comfort in life and in death?
A. That I am not my own, but belong, body and soul, in life and in death, to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil. He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven: in fact, all things must work together for my salvation. Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.
Wow, God......what a plan You have. Thank You for letting me see a little glimpse of it.