I Thessalonians 5:16-17 Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Yesterday in our connect group our lesson was on being in the pit. The book we studied used the life of Joseph to illustrate this truth. God opened my eyes to something new in this story for me this time. Have you ever been in a pit? Are you in one right now? Maybe you are in a pit of despair due to an illness you are suffering, or maybe you are in a pit because of mistakes you have made, or maybe you here because of hurt caused by others. Whether you are in a pit of your owning doing or not, God has a lesson for you while you are here.
The story of Joseph is a familiar Bible story in Genesis. Joseph was the favored child of Jacob because he was the son of old age; he was basically spoiled rotten by his parents. His brothers were jealous, of course, because Joseph got all the attention of their Dad. I am sure by the time Joseph was born, his parents had relaxed and Joseph got away with much more than they had. I know it’s that way in our home. The Princess of our home is Emma Caroline! My children are 23, 19, 15, and then 9. So they always remind me that she gets away with more than they ever did. They are right! We learned to relax with age. She has my blue eyes and light hair and so the child gets whatever she wants!
I am sure Joseph rubbed it in his brother’s faces that he could get away with more. I am sure he was a brat at times. They got really tired of always hearing about sweet Joseph. Then Joseph began to have dreams and rather than keep them to himself, he told his family. The final straw was when he shared his dream that basically meant that they would bow down to him. They were sick of hearing him. So they took him and rather than kill him they stuck him down in a pit until they could figure it out.
I am sure as he sat in the pit he thought well in a little bit they will come back, because when my Dad finds out they are going to be in big trouble. Time passed and he was left there to think. Joseph was in a pit that really he had partly created. I am sure as he sat there he had to have pondered over all the times he had tattled on his brothers. Part of the bad relationship he had with his brothers was his fault. Now I am not saying that anything he had done should have caused his brothers to have treated him as they did, but I do think he wasn’t the perfect child either.
Sometimes God leaves us in the pit so we can have time to think on why we’re there! Recently, in my own pit experience, I was there partly because of choices I had made. I had to face myself in the pit and it wasn’t a pretty thing! I not only had to face the choices I had made, but also I had to ask forgiveness for them. Although I know God was with me, holding me every step of the way, He wanted me to be able to see what had gotten me there in the first place. It would have been easy to just give up and live the rest of my life in despair and hopelessness, but as a Christian that is not God’s plan for any of us. God didn’t let me stay there, He promised He would help me get up and move on. I made the choice to allow Him to do a work in me and on me in the pit. He used His anvil and carved away the bitterness, anger, and revenge that flooded my heart, then he replaced it with joy and peace. He gave me an attitude of praise even though I was still in the cold, dark, pit.
I don’t know where you are today. I do know you can have joy no matter what your circumstances are. God wants to lift you from the pit. He wants you to live a full life in Him; He wants you to trust in Him alone no matter where you are. I read last week, if I will thank Him (no matter how I am feeling), He will give me joy( no matter what my circumstances are).
Joseph went from one hard time to another. Over a time span of fourteen years he went from being sold into slavery to life in prison. Then finally God revealed His perfect plan for Joseph and placed him second in command to Pharaoh. Wow! Joseph allowed God to show him in the pit that He needed him to surrender to His will no matter what that was and no matter how long it would take. Joseph served faithfully in all these situations. He had joy no matter what his circumstances were because He knew God had a plan for His life. Joseph had faced himself and moved forward in Christ.
My friend do you know God has a plan for you as well? I promise He has the perfect plan. So this Thanksgiving if you are in a pit, determine to rejoice knowing God is in there with you. Pray for strength and endurance while you are there, knowing God will grant it to you. Don’t forget to thank Him for everything, yes, even the pit. It is here He is molding us into a masterpiece. I am so thankful God was not only with me in the pit but showed me mercy and grace and pulled me out! Now I will serve Him faithfully wherever I am planted! I am rejoicing always, praying without ceasing, and giving thanks in everything this Thanksgiving season!