“Being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience…” Colossians 1:11
Things can and do go wrong in life. After House Church last Friday night, I stopped at a red light on my way home. Suddenly, a car hit me from behind, putting a dent on my bumper and trunk. After I exchanged information with the driver that hit me, my car wouldn’t start. So, Kathy, who had just arrived home with the kids, had to come and get me.
Things can go wrong in life unexpectedly; and when you think that things can’t get any worse, they often do. In August, my mom had an open-heart surgery. The doctors told my family that the surgery would give her ten more years to live. However, during the surgery, the doctors found that my mother had a rare liver disease. Shortly after the surgery, her liver completely failed, releasing toxins into her body. When she walked into the hospital on that faithful July morning, no one expected her to die – certainly not my mom.
When life doesn’t turn out like we expected, what do we do? I once took Madison to Baskin Robbins and noticed that my scoop of ice cream in a cup was smaller than my daughter’s scoop of ice cream.
I become demanding. I looked at my little scoop of ice cream and my daughter’s and said, “I want my scoop as big as my daughter’s.” The problem with that is there are some areas of life, no matter how loudly you demand, you can’t change. You can’t change another person’s heart or mind no matter how loudly you yell. There are situations in life where demanding does not work.
Then, feeling defeated, I thought, “I guess I deserve only a little scoops of ice cream.” Somehow, I just felt sorry for myself.
Also, I became jealous. I spend most of the day thinking, “Why didn’t I get a big scoop?” People spend their whole lives wishing they could be someone else. That doesn’t work.
Lastly, I became accusing. I took a look at the person who gave me the ice cream and I blamed the scooper. “Next time, I will order my ice cream with the other person,” I thought to myself. When things in life don’t turn out the way we expected, we become bitter, depressed, and disappointed.
Do you remember Joseph? He was rejected by his own brothers, sold into slavery, and falsely imprisoned. What amazes me about Joseph is while he was in prison he never complained about his situation. What did Joseph have that we seem to lack during the days when we are discouraged? I believe Joseph had the inner strength that came from God, which empowered him to patiently endure through the unexpected life circumstances.
John Piper said, “Patience is the capacity to ‘wait and to endure’ without murmuring and disillusionment-to wait in the unplanned place, and endure the unplanned pace… Patience is the evidence of an inner strength.’” Paul prayed for the Colossians to be empower by God so they may patiently endure all that life demands from us.
I believe Joseph was empowered by God to patiently endure through the darkest moments of his life. I believe the key that unlocks the darkest circumstances is by knowing that God is with us. Notice with me that while Joseph was in prison, we are told “the LORD was with Joseph” (Gen. 39:20-21).
What is the significance of acknowledging the presence of the LORD in your darkest moments in life? Listen carefully: the greatest disappointment that you have had in the past or in the present cannot keep His plan from being at work in your life. The warden from the maximum-security prison put Joseph in charge of the prisoners because “the LORD was with Joseph” (Gen. 39:23).
John Piper said, “The strength of patience hangs on our capacity to believe that God is up to something good for us in all our delays and detours.” Are you facing massive disappointments in your life? Have you been let down by life? Are your life and your future turning out like you expected? Often, God takes an impossible circumstance to show His incredible plan. The clouds of disappointment will lift from your life when you realize that no disappointment can erase God’s plan for your life.
Remember, the LORD is with you, and all your tears from your disappointment will turn into happiest ending imaginable.
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