Life of Jesus
Thoughts of the Week
In every situation, there are always two stories—the story you see and the story God sees.
Sometimes life seems to be taking us down a huge detour and everything looks like it's not going our way. In those situations, our life and our story seems to be a disaster.
This is exactly what happened to Joseph, whose story is found in Genesis 37-50. Joseph's brothers jealously hated him and sold him into slavery. Joseph was wrongfully put in prison for raping Potifer's wife, when really he refused to compromise his integrity by sleeping with her. Then, Joseph helped get the chief cupbearer out of jail; however, when the cupbearer had an opportunity to return the favor and get Joseph out of jail, the man forgot about Joseph. Joseph ended up spending thirteen years in jail for something he didn't do.
At this point Joseph's story was going haywire, but God's story was right on track. That's because God had an amazing plan for Joseph's life; God was going to use Joseph to save Egypt and the surrounding lands for seven years of devastating famine. What looked to Joseph like a huge detour was really a great plan of God to provide food for countless people, including the very brothers that had sold Joseph into slavery.
At the end of this, Joseph realized that God had a bigger plan for his life, and after his brothers come to him for food, he tells them: "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives" (Genesis 50:20).
All along, God's story was right on track.
This same principle is also true in the life of Jesus. To the disciples, it looked as those Jesus would be a great king who would rule Israel and return the nation to greatness. They hailed him as a great leader. So, when Jesus was being crucified, the story they saw looked like a major train wreck—this great leader whom they had followed for the past three years was suddenly dead. However, God's story was at its peak—God was in the process of connecting humanity to himself.
There's what you see and what God sees.
When your life seems to be a major disaster; know that God has bigger plans to use your life for great things. The story you see may not reflect the long-term story God has planned. Therefore, trust God, knowing that he works for good in all circumstances (Romans 8:28).
God, give me the desire for you like the desire you have for me.
If you've been around a church, you've certainly heard that God loves you. Although that is true, the word "love" hardly does justice to the way God views you. God's relentless passion and His incomparable zeal for you is beyond comprehension. You can only begin to understand the very tip of the iceberg of God's love for you.
Think of it like this: We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put His love on the line for us by offering His Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to Him (Romans 5:7-8).
How should we respond to the knowledge that God put His love on the line for us? How can we do anything other than put our love on the line for Him and passionately pursue that same God who passionately pursues us? If you were stranded in the ocean and someone came out to rescue you, immediately you would want to join up with and get to know that person. God offers rescue from the domain of sin and darkness; it would be foolish to want anything other than to join up with and get to know the very God who rescues you.
This is the essence of Paul's drive to know God: But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead (Philippians 3:7-11).
Paul was so intent on knowing Christ that he considered everything else in life to be trash compared to knowing Christ. When Paul witnessed the extent of God's desire for him, Paul's response was to passionately, relentlessly desire and pursue God.
Learn from Paul. Pray that God would give you the same desire for Him as He has for you.
The Western Archdiocese of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch,
providing spiritual guidance and leadership to the Syriac Orthodox
community, is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit, tax-exempt organization
comprised of 10 churches and parishes in 17 western states. It was
established in 1952 as the Archdiocese of the Syrian Orthodox Church
encompassing the entire United States and Canada. In November 1995 by
the Holy Synod, the Western Archdiocese was formed to exclusively
serve the 17 states of the western half United States.
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