Growing up was not always easy. There were times when I failed at sports, school and relationships. I was not at the top of my class or the athletic standout or for that matter, the best at really anything. To be honest, I was average. Average does not get the applause or the praise. But what I learned was it did not matter if failed or even if I succeeded and people did not notice, it just mattered that I got up and did not I quit. I learned to be resilient at a young age, to get back up and try again in the face of surprises and setbacks. I learned that God was with me ... and for me ... no matter what happened.
Joseph has a personal story of resilience in the book of Genesis. In fact, his story involves family betrayal, attempted murder, lies, false imprisonment, and slavery. Joseph did not know it at the time but when his brothers threw him in a pit and sold him into slavery that God would use all the bad for his good and the good of others. In the midst of his story, though, he had no reason to think his surroundings or circumstances would improve. Things did not look good and yet he stayed hopeful and held onto his faith in the midst of his circumstances. Eventually, he was able to say to his brothers, As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. Genesis 50:20
We can learn resilience from Joseph’s story. By keeping our hearts up and our heads down, we can follow his example as we go through our own trials. Heart Up is about believing and trusting God and His purpose, plan and presence in whatever you are going through ... having faith and hope in the midst of hard things. Knowing God wins and evil loses can help us hold to our faith and hope. Head Down is about being honest and humble before God about the truth of our situation. Honest with ourselves about the difficulties and struggles we are facing ... the hard decisions and choices we have to make. And yet, not losing hope or faith, and knowing that in the end, we make it. We will overcome. Will God use what I am going through? Our hope is yes. As Romans 8:28-29 reminds us, And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
THIS WEEK: Keep your heart up and your head down as you hold to the truth that God's love is with you and for you. Read 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 daily: Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.