Tuesday, December 9, 2014

WHEN IT SEEMS LIKE NOBODY CARES

"Therefore, it was necessary for him to be made in every
respect like us...so that he could be our merciful and 
faithful High Priest before God. Then he could offer a 
sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people.  
Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, 
he is able to help us when we are being tested."
(Hebrews 2:17-18, NLT)

If you've ever felt forgotten, ignored, rejected, insignificant, worthless, overlooked, passed by, devalued, left out, you may know how easy it is for discouragement, envy, and/or hopelessness to set in.  Maybe even anger, resentment, thoughts of revenge?  Focusing on ourselves and our circumstances can lead to a pit of despair.

This came up in a conversation with a friend, and when I added my own disappointment and frustration over people who make promises they fail to keep, and things that don't move when and how I think they should, it segued right into the story of Joseph (chapters 39 and 40 of the Book of Genesis in the Bible).

In brief, for anyone unfamiliar with the story, Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers,  falsely accused of attempted rape, and imprisoned as a result.  Not long after,  two of Pharaoh's most trusted servants--his baker and his butler--were also thrown into prison.  While there, they both had disturbing dreams which Joseph interpreted for them.  In three days the baker would be executed; the butler would be restored to his job.  And three days later, so it came to pass.  Joseph asked the butler to remember him when he was set free, but the butler forgot about the promise until two years later when Pharaoh needed a dream interpreted.

Where was God, you might ask, or where is He now?  Does He see what's happening?  Does He even care?  Yes, yes, yes!

Each one of us is a Divine original, created for a special purpose that no one else can fulfill (Psalm 139:13, 16; Ephesians 2:10).  God reigns over every single detail of our life, and even before the beginning of time, it was He who decided where we would be born, the parents we would have, what events we would experience.  It's all part of our training program here on earth.  What may seem to us like trials and tribulations, are more likely part of God's blueprint that He is using to mold and shape us into instruments He can use.

People may let us down, but God never will.  Joseph seems to have known this, for instead of becoming bitter or disillusioned by his circumstances, he stayed focused on the goodness and faithfulness of God.  He performed every task assigned to him with excellence, giving God the glory, and all the while, unbeknownst to him, God was using these years in bondage to train Joseph for the important position of ruler of Egypt.   When the time was right, God turned things around, and used Joseph to save many lives during the seven years of famine prophesied in Pharaoh's dream (Genesis 50:20).

So whatever situation you're in today, no matter how hopeless or undesirable it may seem, know that you have not been forgotten.  God knows exactly where you are, and He cares, and if you have any doubts about that, just think of the cross.

John 3:16 tells us that "God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life."  This gift of salvation can only be received by grace, through faith. It cannot be earned by good works (Ephesians 2:8-9). And as much as it is not God's will for anyone to perish, He will not impose His will on us or force us to accept it. The choice is ours.

Jesus stands at the door of your heart, knocking and waiting for you to let Him in (Revelation 3:20). If you have not already done so, I pray you would open the door now and accept His invitation to enter your life, forgive your sins, and make you a new creation.