NewCom Pastor Peter Hong 6/4
God’s silence is not his absence. His seeming hiddenness is not impotence or abandonment. The unbelievable truth we’re challenged with is, when things seem to be going the most wrong, that God is most working in our lives. So if we reject God based on the surface of our lives, because we can’t see what he’s doing underneath, we may be making the biggest mistake of our lives.
When life interruptions happen, we tend to ask:
1. Why is this happening?
2. When is this going to end?
But I challenge you to instead ask God:
1. What do you want to do in me through this life interruption?
2. What do you want to do through me in this life interruption?
God is less interested in my comfort than he is in my transformation. God will rarely give me what I want, but he will often give me what I need, in just the right time, in just the right way, in just the right proportions, to make me more like Him.
He gives grace to shake my confidence in me to put my confidence and trust in Him.
The story of Joseph is how a young 17 year old man grows up to be an emotionally and spiritually mature adult. Joseph, who started out an arrogant egomaniac, tells his 11 brothers who tried to kill him and sold him into slavery, “Now, do not be distressed or angry with yourselves for selling me here b/c it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance — so then it was not you who sent me here, but God.” Joseph is able to say to his brothers that what you did was evil, but God is so wise, so loving and so powerful that he took your evil and turned it into good.
You and I cannot have that perspective apart from the empowering of the Holy Spirit.
Genesis 50:15 – when Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they wondered whether he would pay him back for all the evil they did. So they told him their father gave them last words for Joseph to forgive them. Joseph then wept, b/c he knew they were lying. In weeping, he genuinely grieved and mourned the sadness and brokenness of his family.
True forgiveness can only come out of honest grieving.
Spiritually emotionally healthy people understand how their past affects their present ability to love people and to love God. The problem for most of us is that we don’t want to go back – some see it as a waste of time, or as too painful and would rather live in the denial they’re in today. You cannot truly and honestly forgive unless you genuinely mourn and grieve.
Joseph’s brothers came before him and threw themselves down and Joseph refuses to put himself in God’s chair. Here are the ways we put ourselves in God’s chair:
- We assume we can be our own moral authority.
- When you let people look to you to meet their deepest needs.
- Excessive worry – it is a refusal to give God kingship.
- Keeping a grudge – he only knows the facts by which to judge, and he’s the only one who is able to judge w/o being able to become evil himself. When you hold a grudge, the evil that was done to you moves into your heart.
“You intended to harm me, but God intended for good, to accomplish what is now being done — the saving of many lives.” Joseph is taking God’s view about the interruptions in his life. Viewing it from the top of the mountain, instead of from the bottom of the valley.
Joseph was able to ask, “Is there something God might be doing in the midst of this?”
How do we know that something people intend for evil can be meant for good? Look at the CROSS. The people meant it for evil, but God meant it for good, for the salvation of many lives.
If you ever lose hope b/c you just can’t make sense of it all, look at the cross. This means even we can’t mess up our lives. God will use even our sin, detour and mistakes to bring about good.
“The nexus of sin is man substituting ourselves for God. The essence of salvation is God substituting himself for man.” – John Stott
We put ourselves where God deserves to be, God puts himself where we deserve to be.