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Overcome Hard Times

 

Genesis 41:28-36, 46-49
Bible Studies for Life, Nov. 9

 

Tears often accompany the feelings of helplessness and heartache. When we find ourselves in a crisis and, despite our efforts and prayers, the crisis becomes dire, our hope and heart becomes weary and tired.

Words cannot express the emotions that rush in like a river overflowing its banks, twisting and turning everything in its path while destroying all the beauty we once enjoyed. In such desperate times, what do we do? How do we respond when we find ourselves at a place where we have nothing left to give?

 

Genesis 41:28-32

Joseph found himself living a life of difficult circumstances, yet his faith in God kept his attitude and actions honorable before the Lord. He entrusted his life to the plan God was working.

Joseph did not place parameters around what Godís plan and journey should look like. He accepted the position God placed him in and trusted God to fulfill His promise.

Pharaoh considered himself a god. Yet, Joseph declares that God, Yahweh, gave him the dream and Yahweh would give the interpretation (vv.16, 28). The interpretation of the dream was the open door for Joseph to shine. Pharaohís dream and the meaning was a foretelling of what was to come. What God gave was not the determined outcome, but simply the events.

What open doors has God provided you in the midst of a crisis?

 

Genesis 41:33-36

The outcome of the upcoming events of blessing and famine was not revealed in Pharaohís dream. Godís plan was to place Joseph in a position where he would shine at the right moment. Pharaoh is desperate for an answer to what he could not discern. The dream prepared him for what God had planned for him and Joseph.

Joseph gave the interpretation and Pharaoh did not ask for advice to handle the situation, but Joseph gave him a strategy anyway. Could the reason Joseph excelled in Potipherís house and in prison be that he was a strategic thinker and leader?

... God had used his personality and his circumstances to prepare him for such a time as this.

We are aware the favor he was shown was granted by God, but God had used his personality and his circumstances to prepare him for such a time as this.

What crisis has God used in your life to prepare you for something?

 

Genesis 41:46-49

Despite the crises and troubles that come our way, God uses those moments to prepare us for future opportunities. Do not just live for the moment, but live for the future God has planned for you.

Godís plan included using Joseph just as he was to bring about the future He had planned. Because Joseph had faith in the plan-maker, he did not have to promote himself, he allowed God to do the promoting. His job was to be who God had made him to be.

Pharaoh declared that there was not another man in all of Egypt as discerning and wise as Joseph because he had given the interpretation of his dream and threw in a strategy free of charge. God used a man who did not worship Him to fulfill the plan for Joseph to save a nation. He kept his heart and mind on the one who had the overall plan for his life, Yahweh.

What vision has God given you for your life?

 

When God prepares you

Godís plan is for you to embrace where you are and who you are in order that He may take you to where you need to be, fully equipped to fulfill His purpose and plan for your life. He prepares you in the pit for the day He will use you in a mighty way.

However, when you are in the pit, how do you overcome the circumstances? When a crisis hits, we can find ourselves unable to express what we feel in words. We may not even be able to pray. In those moments of our deepest despair, when our emotions are running wild, there are three things vital to our survival, our sanity, and our faith!

We will never find ourselves where He is not.

First, we return to what we know. Our foundation must be grounded in God and not what we feel. Our emotions will toss us violently from here to there, but remembering what we know and allowing that to be our foundation is critical. Regardless of the crisis God knows, He cares, and He is present.

We will never find ourselves where He is not. When all hope is lost and we have nothing but bad news, Scripture is Godís tool to remind us of what we know in the midst of a crisis and His Word revives hope in our soul.

Second, what we know must become what we believe. Knowing God is present is one thing, believing it in order that we no longer simply give mental assent to it is another. Belief moves fact into conviction.

We can know electricity is powerful and runs into the room we are sitting, but our belief will cause us to take the final step of action. The light switch is not turned on simply because we know electricity is present, but because we believe the power and presence is there for us to have light.

Third, what we believe should birth what we do. Actions aligned with our beliefs in those moments when our emotions and our feelings tell us otherwise will be the difference between suffocation and survival. Sometimes we act out of our feelings, and at other times, we must act out of what we believe rather than what we feel.

The most difficult thing in overcoming a crisis may not be the crisis itself, but overcoming our own emotions and fears. To be successful, we have to return to what we know, what we believe, and translate that into what we say and what we do!