From Suffering To Rejoicing

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Rise and Shine for Jesus


These weekly devotionals I will be posting come from and are copyright to Pam Iannello, my pastor's late wife who went home to be with the Lord on June 18, 2008.


Learning how to face our family problems through an in-depth study of the troubled home of Joseph.


From Suffering To Rejoicing


This devotion is part of the "Family Problems" series.


When there are problems going on in our lives that can't be hidden from curious onlookers, people watch you intently - especially family members. Whether they realize it or not, they usually expect to find you in particularly bad shape, at least emotionally. Inwardly, they have practically written a script for the way in which they perceive your reaction will be to the pit in which you have found yourself. In a style typical of gawking rubber-neckers, defeat and despair has been written into their little story of your life as they watch closely for any signs of suffering… But when you surprise them by rewriting their script and rise above your problems victoriously, when you can no longer be found in that pit of suffering, they are caught off guard! It is that precise moment which causes individuals to self-reflect, to take personal inventory of their way of thinking. Such was the case with Reuben when he returned to the pit only to find his brother Joseph gone. Turn with me to Genesis chapter 37, and let's pick up with verses 29 & 30 in our continued study of the life of Joseph and his family problems:

And Reuben returned unto the pit; and behold, Joseph was not in the pit; and he rent his clothes. And he returned unto his brethren, and said, The child is not; and I, whither shall I go?

Often it is the slightest thing that makes us miserable and depressed. Even the smallest predicaments can induce the severest reactions. Oh, at the onset of problems we intend to act bravely, but when even a small trial comes along, we find ourselves in great distress, as did Reuben. You see, he expected to find his brother Joseph still suffering in the pit he had been cast into by his brothers and instead found it empty! It was a shock to his system when circumstances didn't work out as Reuben expected. So it is with us, amen? Rueben was confident in his plan for rescuing Joseph but it had just backfired and now Reuben was faced with the error of his own way of thinking, of trusting in his own understanding of things… You see ladies, when we lean upon our own wisdom, and when we think ourselves somewhat safe from trouble and least expect to find it, it is then that we are frequently caught off guard and almost overcome by minor issues. What can we do but cry out to the Lord to look at our inferiority and frailty that He knows so well and we have just discovered! Reuben cried out, "...and I, whither shall I go?" So too, must we cry out, but only to the One who can give mercy and sort out the mess in which we are caught. Ladies, you and I can't escape our mistakes, but an awareness of the Lord's presence at all times - even in our failures - can be a great source of comfort when we come face to face with them, amen?

Psalm 139:7
Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?

Yes, God is magnificently present wherever we are. He was present with Reuben at the discovery of that empty pit and He was present with Joseph who had been lifted out of that pit and taken captive as a slave. If Reuben had trusted the Lord, he would have realized that this situation did not call for sadness and grief, but rather great joy! You see, God had beat Reuben to the pit, Joseph had already been rescued - just not in a way that man had considered it would be done… The problem was solved God's way, amen? Therefore, the empty pit Reuben was standing near was the place where the Lord had been; it was holy ground!! God was revealing His glory to Reuben… Likewise, we must open our eyes to the realization that the place of suffering is also intended to become a place of rejoicing…

1 Peter 4:13
But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

Ladies, don't try to figure out God and how He will work in your home to improve its conditions. If you do, you will miss the miracles and your reactions to His workings will be inappropriate! You must trust God firmly in order to discern the difference between a triumph and a tragedy. To be overly emotional will interfere with proper interpretation of your circumstances. Let me share with you a similar story found in Matthew 27:62 through chapter 28:8 and perhaps you'll see what I mean....

Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, [63] Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. [64] Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first. [65] Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can. [66] So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch. [28:1] In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. [2] And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. [3] His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: [4] And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. [5] And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. [6] He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. [7] And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you. [8] And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word.

While Pilate told the Jews that they might secure the sepulchre as carefully as they could, and even though they sealed the stone, and set a guard, and were satisfied that all necessary measures had been taken, such planning of man was madness! Can we, as human beings, really think to guard any situation against the power of God?? Ladies, the Lord specializes in taking the wise in their own craftiness. Therefore, all the ranting and raving and scheming of God's enemies are applied to confirm His strength and glory! As Christians, we cannot live for God by our own strength, or against His. It is only as His resurrection power works in and through us that we can do God's will and glorify His name properly. So then, Reuben should have received strength at the sight of the empty pit and glorified God rather than expressing grief. It pointed to God's perfect work and protection over Joseph's life - no matter what man's plan may have been, good or bad! Yes, for lack of sensitivity to God, Reuben interpreted his situation as a tragedy rather than a triumph…

In closing, is there a particular family mess that you find yourself in today that you need to rethink? Have you come face to face with your feeble understanding of things; have you finally seen your deep need for the Lord's wisdom in all matters? Perhaps, like Reuben, you have been expressing grief over something that ought to be considered a work of God. Maybe you've been guilty of expecting the Lord to work your family problems out a certain way, and you've blinded yourself to the miracles that God has already performed in your home. Whatever the case may be I hope that you've learned today that God is in the resurrection business! No matter how difficult your circumstances appear, no matter how badly your family relationships have deteriorated, the Lord can breathe new life into your home. But you must let go of your way of thinking, your way of doing things and let God be God, amen? Trust Him firmly to perform a miracle in your home and transform your present sufferings into great joy! Those curious onlookers that expect to find you still stuck in a pit will certainly be surprised to find that with God's help you rose above your circumstances and have moved on! In the face of your victory and God's divine intervention in your home, they'll be left standing by, speechless and faced with a startling new thought - "and I, whither shall I go?"

God Bless,
Pam
Isaiah 60:1&2
Copyright 2000 Pamela A. Iannello
Revised 2003 Meet Ms. Pam

Other Rise and Shine Devotionals
New Beginnings Baptist Church Website


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