"Stevie, you know a little something about adversity." That's what my old Grandpappy said yesterday, during our conversation. He's my old buddy and has stuck by me through thick-and-thin. And he's right.
Not to toot my own horn, but I have had my own share of struggles and setbacks in the last several years, but through it all, God has been with me. Some hardships have been at the hands of others, and some have been because of my own wrongdoings. I've screwed up plenty. But through it all, God has been with me.
Reading Joseph's biography in the book of Genesis (Chapters 37-48) creates a beautiful picture of God's Grace and Destiny in spite of some pretty rough personal adversity. Joseph is sold into slavery by his brothers (but God was with him), he was falsely accused of rape by Potiphar's wife (but God was with him), he was thrown into jail (but God was with him)...get the picture?
God's hand was on Joseph's life through every test and trial.
Adversity sees today, while Grace sees the big picture.
Adversity locks us in jail, while Grace sets us free.
Adversity tells us lies, while Grace preaches Truth.
Adversity calls us to give up, while Grace says, "just a little longer".
Adversity says, "not a chance", while Grace says, "have you met my God?"
You could read most of the story of Joseph with a negative outlook, thinking God had turned his back on Israel's beloved child, but in the end, you see that God was setting Joseph (and the family who betrayed him) up for greatness.
In the worst drought in Egypt's history, Joseph's family was spared, because God was with Joseph through it all.
Israel (or Jacob) thought he would never see his son Joseph again, but in the end of the story, he is even blessed to see Joseph's children! God had the big picture under control. The story wraps up with Israel praying a most-beautiful blessing over his grandsons, much like something my Grandfather would have prayed over me through the years:
The God before whom walked my fathers Abraham and Isaac, The God who has been my shepherd all my life long to this very day, The Angel who delivered me from every evil, Bless the boys. May my name be echoed in their lives, and the names of Abraham and Isaac, my fathers, And may they grow covering the Earth with their children.
God, teach us by your Grace that even when we face adversity, you are with us.