Christian life

Doggone Those Heroes!

Certain people’s lives cause me to say, “Yep, he/she ruins the curve.” Meaning that in spite of horrific circumstances, the person stayed on the Lord’s path, continued to pray and trust, testified boldly (even when in danger), behaved in confidence of the Lord’s love and power, and accomplished things for the Lord.

Doggone them—they ruin any defense for my own unfortunate actions!

Joseph is one of those heroes. Examining the story of Joseph closely (Genesis 37, 39–50), I aimed to mark my Bible for every occurrence where it stated or clearly indicated Joseph’s sadness, suffering, weeping. Here’s what jumped out: Genesis 41:51-52; 42:24; 43:30; 45:2, 14, 15; 46:29; 50:1, 17.

And I also marked every occurrence where it said (or indicated) that “the Lord was with Joseph” and where we see Joseph standing firm in the Lord’s ways or praising/crediting the Lord. These spots were worth noting: Genesis 39:2-5, 9, 21; 41:16, 39, 51-52; 42:18; 43:23; 45:5-9; 48:9; 50:20.

You may notice others.

The kids’ Sunday school coloring pages about Joseph sometimes include exotic Egyptian costumes and structures; they don’t necessarily depict Joseph in extreme agony. And we may not fully grasp the situation regarding ancient Egypt’s government, religion, and morality. Joseph definitely didn’t just float through his troubles. Reviewing the Genesis account was fascinating—there were way more testimonies than there were sadness/suffering highlights.

A couple of Joseph’s weepings were clearly complete meltdowns. Still, Joseph made a loud and obvious point of testifying to the Lord’s blessing and power. I couldn’t help wondering whether maybe it was his way of defying any dark purpose. Consider the times when he said something like “Well, I can’t, but the Lord can” and “God has done ____.”

Many other testimonies and weepings may have occurred with Joseph, without being recorded. But what the Lord did determine to be recorded for our benefit seems to indicate the importance of open praising—even smack in the middle of severe trouble. I know this in my head, of course, but have I always shown, say, a positive 2-to-1 ratio in my conversation and behavior?

And of course, the account begins with Joseph’s being sold into slavery by his own brothers (Genesis 37). Surely that’s much worse, emotionally, than being kidnapped by strangers and sold. Doesn’t that make Joseph’s testimonies and praise even more remarkable? Not to mention that, ultimately, he even forgave those who had caused his pain. Wow, wouldn’t that sort of behavior stand out in today’s climate in our own land? (Though we realize, of course, that nonbelievers can’t be expected to have or behave from a Christian viewpoint.)

Here are just a few other Scriptures that hint at the theme of this post: Esther 4:16; 1 Corinthians 15:57; 2 Corinthians 6:3-10; 7:5, 6; Ephesians 1:19; Philippians 4:4, 6; Hebrews 11. And the Bible also has reminders of bad examples we should not imitate (ex: Lot’s wife, King Saul, Queen Jezebel, King Sennacherib, Judas …).


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