When we read a story, we have a distinct advantage over the characters involved: We know how it ends. As the protagonists struggle with various conflicts, we want to cheer them on: “Hang in there—you’re going to be okay.”
Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery when he was about seventeen years old. Later, his boss’s wife accused him of sexual assault and he landed in prison where he was bruised by fetters. We also know that God used prison time to test his character and prepare him for his role as second-in-command over Egypt (Psalm 105:18-19). We know Joseph ended up being his brothers’ savior and that his family was reconciled (Genesis 50:15-21). But Joseph didn’t know these things while God was writing the pages of his story.
God is writing the pages of your story today. Perhaps the plot has taken a few hard twists, especially during the pandemic. Maybe you wish you could rewrite a chapter or two. You have no clue where this storyline is going or how it will end. So how can you walk this journey with hope? Here are three keys to remember.
- Practice God’s Presence
God was with Joseph throughout every ordeal, and He’s with you, too. Greet Him when you wake up. Invite Him into your day’s activities even if they seem mundane. Talk to Him as you go about your chores, take a walk, or drive to work. Being more mindful of His presence brings courage when we feel afraid and comfort when we feel lonely.
- Refuse to Worry
Nazi holocaust survivor, Corrie ten Boom, lived a story few of us can imagine. She said, “Worry doesn’t empty today of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength.” So true!
Every rich story includes conflict of one type or another. Our natural inclination is to worry about possible outcomes. But God’s word counsels us to take a better approach. “Remember, the Lord is coming soon. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus” Philippians 4:5-7 NLT).
Scripture gives us a clue about how the story will end: Jesus will return someday, wipe every tear from our eyes, and set every injustice right. In the meantime, let’s apply this equation to every conflict we face: prayer + thanksgiving = peace.
You might find it helpful to take a piece of paper and identify your greatest concern in a word or two at the top of the page. Underneath that heading, express your worries about it to the Lord. Then write at least three things for which you can give thanks in the midst of it.
- Offer Praise
When we give thanks to God, we’re expressing gratitude for all He has done on our behalf. When we offer praise, we focus on who He is by nature—faithful, wise, sovereign, just, powerful, and holy, to mention a few. We might focus on His names—Immanuel, Prince of Peace, Jehovah Jireh (provider).
We do this because it shifts our perspective from our problem to the Problem-Solver. It reminds us that He is bigger and stronger than any enemy we face. It helps us remember that He’s the one in charge, and nothing can thwart His purposes for our lives.
Many of us like to believe we’re in control of our circumstances. This pandemic has shown us that we’ve believed a lie. Only God is in control, and He knows best how to sort things out for our good and His glory. Let’s leave the pen in His hands.
Cling to the Lord, trust Him as the author of your story, and hang onto hope. As Billy Graham said, “I’ve read the last page of the Bible, and it’s all going to turn out all right.”
#YourStory #GodsStory #Hope #Devotions
Your writings are so good to me for they stir my soul. What a great writing on 3 keys to know when you do not know the ending! I continue to think of your study, From Fear to Freedom, which occurred prior to and ended just before the coronavirus. I hope you are being safe and keeping well. May God continue pouring BLESSINGS upon your life.
Ann, thank you for your encouragement. Yes, I’m staying well through the pandemic. It’s given me lots of time to write!