NOTE FROM BECKY: Hi everyone. My friend and fellow writer, Jennifer Slattery, is guesting on my blog today — with a great message of hope. Please enjoy!
I stood in the back of a large, cafeteria-styled room, Bible in my hand, and stared at the broken women and children in front of me. I’d been asked to speak, to share God’s Word, and never before had I felt the pressure of such a task more intensely.
They sat with hunched shoulders, faces drawn. They’d come for a meal and maybe a bed. The one who pierced my heart most was a teen with thick, tightly curled hair and wide brown eyes. Close to my daughter’s age.
My mother’s heart ached as questions surfaced. How does a homeless child fare in the cruel, clique-laden, shallow halls of high school where poverty is seen as a disease? Does he dream for better? Or drown his pain in busyness and noise? Or booze?
Nothing I could say would fix these women and children’s problems. I couldn’t fill their bellies tomorrow or buffer them from the heat or rain or cold.
But I could share the story of a man who’d been right where they were, one who found glory in the darkness.
His name was Joseph. He was the youngest of twelve sons, favored by his father and despised by his brothers. One day, his brothers turned on him, and his life instantly changed. They stripped him of his robe, threw him in a cistern, and sold him into slavery.
From there, owning nothing and with no hope for aid, he began the long, treacherous journey to Egypt. He arrived in this foreign, pagan land, completely alone, his life at the mercy of the highest bidder.
Or so he thought. But even in the depths of Joseph’s despair, God was watching. And loving Joseph to his very core. In fact, I believe Joseph sensed God’s presence with every step and every bid. Those strong arms surrounding him, buffering him, giving him strength and holding him close.
For a while, things went well. Joseph served with faithfulness, and God blessed him for it. But once again, when he least expected it, a human betrayed him, and Joseph was thrown into a dark, dank prison, indefinitely. No hope of a trial by jury or even a trial at all.
And once again, God was watching, and loving Joseph to his core. I believe Joseph sensed God’s presence with every shiver and hunger pain. Those strong arms surrounding him, giving him strength and holding him close.
Because Joseph clung and surrendered to his Creator, he was able to bring light to a dark and hopeless place. One morning, he noticed two inmates looked upset, so he asked them about it (Genesis 40:5-7). They told him they had two very unsettling dreams, and Joseph used their revelation to point them to God.
This encounter-Joseph’s noticing the pain of other prisoners, compassionately engaging them, and pointing them to God-resulted in Joseph standing before the Pharaoh, the leader of an immensely powerful pagan nation, pointing him, also, to Creator God.
Joseph alone was in a position to speak to those inmates, and God had used his lowly position for something so glorious, pastors preach on this event today!
Had Joseph been consumed with self, he would’ve missed it, and how different this story would’ve been. A lonely man, betrayed first by family than by strangers, left to die in a dark, dank prison.
This was the message I gave those women, and it’s the one I give to you. Each day, we have countless “Joseph” moment, opportunities to look past our circumstances to those God sets before us, individuals in need of hope.
In need of God.
Will we allow God to use us in our lowly, broken state, for His glory?
Jennifer Slattery writes soul-stirring fiction for New Hope Publishers, a publishing house passionate about bringing God’s healing grace and truth to the hopeless. Her debut novel, Beyond I Do, is currently available in print and e-book format for under $10! You can find it here: http://www.amazon.com/Jennifer-Slattery/e/B00JKQ4ZTW/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1
Jennifer loves helping aspiring authors grow in their craft, and has editing slots open beginning in November. Find out more here: http://wordsthatkeep.wordpress.com/
Visit with Jennifer online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.
Will seeing beyond the present unite them or tear them apart?
Marriage . . . it’s more than a happily ever after. Eternally more.
Ainsley Meadows, raised by a hedonist mother, who cycles through jobs and relationships like wrapping paper on Christmas morning, falls into a predictable and safe relationship with Richard, a self-absorbed socialite psychiatrist. But as her wedding nears, a battered woman and her child spark a long-forgotten dream and ignite a hidden passion. One that threatens to change everything, including her fiancé. To embrace God’s best and find true love, this security-seeking bride must follow God with reckless abandon and realize that marriage goes Beyond I Do.
Read a free, 36-page excerpt here: http://issuu.com/newhopedigital/docs/beyond_i_do_sample?e=6362996/8842858