Someone watched a sculptor at work and asked how the master was able to obtain such a close likeness to his model. The sculptor said he simply chipped away all that did not resemble the model. Similarly, when a jeweler refines gold, he has to make the fire hot enough so that when he looks at the gold, he sees his own reflection.
Such is the way of the Lord, as he conforms us to the image of his beloved Son. I often speak to young people who face many turns and twists in their lives. They pursued a direction, relationship, or position, only to be delayed, diverted, disappointed, or dismissed! How are we to respond? How can we rise above what is often unfair treatment or even outright betrayal? We are called to "renew" our minds so that we may prove thatgood,acceptable, and perfect will of God (Romans 12:2)!
Can we trust him in the middle of the storm knowing that his purposes for us are only and ultimately good?
When we examine the life of Joseph, we see that he faced many twists and turns in the road. He was favored by his father and incurred the jealousy of his brothers, who sold him into slavery. How he must have suffered! How he must have felt anger, rejection, and a sense of abandonment by God and his family. Not only was he rejected and cast aside by his brothers, but he was betrayed by the very "lady" whose honor he sought to preserve. Lest we think this was enough and that most assuredly no more evil would befall him, he was forgotten in the prison where he languished after correctly interpreting dreams.
However, in that dark prison perhaps with his own dark thoughts, God was teaching Joseph the lesson we all must learn: "It is not about what is done to me that matters. It is about how I respond to what is done to me that determines my character, my usefulness to the Lord, my spiritual maturity, and ultimately my usefulness even to the one who has betrayed me!"
God used Joseph's troubles to form his own character in Joseph, and then he used him to bless the very people who had betrayed him. He is no less faithful today to form Jesus' image in us.
- 26 MARCH -