In His Time (January Newsletter)
One of my favorite stores in the Bible is about Joseph and all that he had to endure: His older brothers hating him because his father preferred him; being thrown into a deep well by those same brothers and then being sold to a traveling band of Ishmaelites (slave traders); being poked and prodded on the slave blocks of Egypt; serving as a slave to the Captain of the guard; facing temptation every day because he happened to be a pretty good looking young man; accused of attempted rape by his master's wife (the Captain of the guard of Pharaoh) and then thrown into prison to be forgotten for the rest of his life. I suppose if you met Joseph and , because you knew the 'rest of the story' (thanks Paul Harvey), tried to encourage him that God makes everything beautiful in His time, he might look at you and say, in a snarky tone, 'Yeah, thanks for the comforting words.'
Sometimes when we are going through a difficult time in life, comforting words from the scripture are not always all that comforting. But, if you were to say those exact same words to Joseph: AFTER his release from prison and then being elevated to the second most important position in the whole land of Egypt; his brothers bowing down before him; his whole family finding food and shelter from a severe famine that the Lord told him in advance about, and gave him the plans that saved the lives of the whole region from devastation, well, he might agree with you. In fact, Joseph said in Genesis 50:20, "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives." Some things, most things - well, in truth - ALL THINGS - are easier to see the hand of God in your life after the fact. But while you are in the throes of pain and heartache from the disappointments of life, it is not that easy to keep the faith. Maybe this is why Paul wrote in II Corinthians 5:7, "We live by faith, not by sight." Again, easier said than done, but still possible if you trust God to work out all the details in your life, but only in His time.
At this point of the letter you may be catching on that God has given me a 'word' for our church for this upcoming year - "In His Time" '23, which comes from Ecclesiastes 3:11, "He has made everything beautiful in His time. He has also set eternity in the hears of men."
God has a plan that encompasses the time of our conception through all the times in our life and leading up to the fulfillment of His plans for our eternal home in heaven as part of His family. Our role in this life is to trust Him with everything (the good and the bad) and then wait on Him to bring to fruition the "everything beautiful" part in His time. God really knows what He is doing.
From Joseph (you intended to harm me but God intended it for good) to Solomon (He has made everything beautiful in His time) to Paul in Romans 8:28, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him who have been called according to His purpose." We can know and trust that God is at work in our lives and that He has determined to make everything in our lives work out... for our good! Last year we learned that God's Got This. This new year, 2023, it's all IN HIS TIME.