A few days ago I was working around the house and talking with God. Overwhelmed I was fast heading towards complaining. Sometimes God lets me find my way. Other times he sends a message. This one came in the form of a thought. Do I let it beat me? Or with God do I beat it?
I wasn’t sure how to respond. At that moment, I wasn’t sure what the thought meant. I looked back over times in my life when I felt lost, hurt and depressed. When day after day I failed. We all have seasons where we feel beaten. We’ve lost the game. Maybe we have lost everything. Each time I felt it was over or I had lost the fight, I had to ask, “Do I give up?”
This day I had not gotten there in my conversation. I asked, “What do I need to learn?” I had been reading about Joseph.
“Does this have something to do with Joseph?” I questioned. No response. No blinding realization came to me. I knew then I had to keep searching.
Then on Saturday afternoon, we were clearing out storage. My husband was in another room and I was moving something when I tripped and fell. I haven’t fallen this hard in years. I landed on my knees and hands the shock reverberated through my bones. My stomach got queasy and my head spun.
I must have yelled because my husband called out. “Are you okay?!” I wasn’t sure. I turned over, and I sat on the floor. Did I injure my knees? Wait a minute… my big toe hurts the most. That struck me as funny.
My husband helped me into the recliner. He iced down both knees and my toes. Then he said, “Don’t go anywhere.” Where am I gonna go? He walks away.
Rolling my eyes at his back I yell, “At least get me my book!” I sat back hoping I was all right. Other than a few bruises to my knees, toe, and pride all was good. Thanking the Lord I went on with my day. But by evening the real pain started to sink into the muscles.
By Sunday morning I ached from my shoulders to my toes. I spent the morning visiting with God through Joseph. The phrase came back to me: Do I let it beat me? Or with God do I beat it?
I asked. “How is this related to Joseph?” I began to read. Joseph had every reason to feel beaten down and defeated. Think about it. His mother died when he was young. When he was a teen, his brothers sold him off to the first travelers that came their way. He became a slave and gets thrown into jail. He ends up in the tough position of interpreting dreams, to the Pharaoh no less. In rereading the scripture I saw something; Joseph got the job done. He didn’t shirk his duties. Whether it was his father, brothers, owners, Pharaoh, or God, he did what they asked of him. And the scriptures are clear God remained with him and prospered him.
When he was a slave we read:
“2 The Lord was with Joseph and he enjoyed great success and was assigned to the household of his Egyptian master. 3 When his master saw that the Lord was with him and brought him success in whatever he did, 4 he favored Joseph and made him his personal attendant; he put him in charge of his household and entrusted to him all his possessions.” [Genesis 39:2-4]*
When he was in jail it says:
“21 But the Lord was with Joseph, and showed him kindness by making the chief jailer well-disposed toward him.” [Genesis 39:21]
And with Pharaoh:
38 “Could we find another like him,” Pharaoh asked his servants, “a man so endowed with the spirit of God?” 39So Pharaoh said to Joseph: “Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one as discerning and wise as you are. 40 You shall be in charge of my household, and all my people will obey your command. Only in respect to the throne will I outrank you.” [Genesis 41:38-40]
What I had found stunned me. I remembered other verses encouraging me to keep going in life:
“28 We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” [Romans 8:28] and;
“31 What then shall we say to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?” [Romans 8:31]
With God, Joseph did not allow it to beat him. Because of his faith and perseverance, God blessed him with success and favor. Because of his faithfulness, God could place Joseph in the right place at the right time, to save his family and Israel.
Joseph could not stop his brothers from sinning and causing him great harm. God was with him and blessed him through it all. When I feel beaten and discouraged, I am given examples of ordinary people who had faith: Joseph, Daniel, Deborah, Esther, the Apostles, Mary, Martha, Jeremiah, and Job. This is just a few. These are my heroes. Like us, they are ordinary people with faith in an extraordinary God. When it seemed hopeless God saved them and others.
God is with us today and every day. This week I am battling feelings of uselessness and depression. With God, I will beat it. I don’t know what it you are battling today. I know that with God you can beat it. Here is our choice, do we let it beat us or do we with faith in God beat it?
Oh my Lord Jesus, strengthen the faith of the one here before you. Give them guidance, courage, and strength to overcome what draws them away from your joy. In Jesus Name Amen. In the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
May the peace of God rest on you today, remember, with God on your side you can “beat it!”
*References are from the New American Bible Revised Edition