There’s a poem, “Footprints in the Sand,” that gets printed on lots of inspirational posters and materials. The narrator has a dream, where she walks along a beach, and scenes from her life flash before her eyes. There are two steps of footprints in the sand, except during the hardest and most trying times of her life, when there was just one set. Concerned, she questions God, “Why, when I needed you most, did you leave?” God replies, “Why, I love you and will never ever, ever leave you. When you saw just one set of footprints, that was when I carried you.”
In our new message series, Spin Doctoring, we’re going to be talking about turning negatives into positives. In the Bible, there are many stories of men and women who were thrown the most daunting challenges and came out the other side because of their faith and trust in God. So many times, we forget that God is always there for us, giving us only exactly as much as we can handle, and imploring us to develop our relationship with him.
In the book of Genesis, the story of Joseph is a perfect example of God turning around a difficult situation. Joseph was his father Israel’s clear favorite. Israel gave him a beautiful, multicolored coat, and exempted him from the work he assigned to his other sons. Then, Joseph began having visions of his eleven older brothers bowing down to him. That was the last straw for them; Joseph’s brothers lured him into the desert, into the bottom of well, where they trapped him and sold him as a slave to a caravan passing through the area.
Joseph became the slave of the captain of the Pharaoh’s guard, where he finds favor with his Egyptian master by interpreting dreams. Word of the dream-interpreting slave reaches the Pharaoh, who demands to see Joseph at once. Summoned to the palace, Joseph interprets the monarch’s dreams, which foretell seven years of plenty followed by seven years of drought and suffering. The Pharaoh recognizes Joseph’s talent as coming from God, trusts his word, and promotes him to be the chief administrator of Egypt. Under Joseph’s careful planning, Egypt wisely takes advantage of the years of plenty, saving for the years of struggle. When in seven years time the drought and famine strike the region, everyone suffers — except Egypt, which had planned for the time of struggle.
Meanwhile, Joseph’s father sends his sons to Egypt to buy grain; there is none to be found elsewhere. Joseph learns of his brothers’ journey and invites them to dine at his home, though concealing his identity as their brother. After a brief test, he ascertains that their characters have indeed changed, and he reveals himself to them. He forgives them and sells them the grain.
God guided Joseph through years in slavery, never once leaving him, though it must have felt that way to Joseph when his own brothers betrayed him. Perseverance, God teaches us, will guide us through — and we will never find ourselves alone, not one step of the way.
--Claire Kosewic, Staff Bulletin Writer
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