In Times of Crisis

man in despairCrisis

According to the Oxford online dictionary, crisis is defined as a time of intense difficulty, trouble, or danger. It is a time when a difficult or important decision must be made.

Merriam-Webster online dictionary further describes crisis as an unstable or crucial time or state of affairs in which a decisive change is impending.

We might consider different things a crisis by varying degrees. What one person considers a crisis, another may view differently.

When I hear reports of earthquakes or other natural disasters, I think crisis.

When I read reports of devastation in times of war, I think crisis.

When I talk with friends with about their major relationship concerns, I think crisis.

When I consider those without food, housing, or safety, I think crisis.

When I consider those with life-threatening diseases, I think crisis.

What I have found with the crises in my life is this. Crisis often catches us off guard, and always requires attention.

Joseph’s Life of Crisis

We don’t have to go past the book of Genesis to find someone whose life was one major crisis after another. At the beginning of chapter thirty-seven, we read about Joseph, the seventeen-year-old son beloved by his father Jacob.

By the middle of the chapter, we read Joseph was hated and rejected by his brothers. So much so, they decided to kill him.

By the end of the chapter, Joseph’s brothers changed their mind. Instead of outright killing their younger brother, when a caravan of Ishmaelites arrived from Gilead on its way to Egypt, they decided to sell him into slavery instead.

Crisis Number Two

In chapter thirty-nine, we see that a man named Potiphar, one of Pharaoh’s officials, bought Joseph from the traders. Because the Lord was with Joseph, Joseph prospered. Potiphar noticed God was with Joseph, and put him in charge of his household and everything he owned.

Potiphar’s wife made sexual advances toward Joseph. He refused. She falsely accused him of rape. He was thrown in prison.

Forgotten in Prison

Chapter forty-one tells us that after two years in prison, Pharaoh had a dream. A former prison remembered Joseph had a gift for dream interpretation, and suggested Joseph might be able to help. By now, Joseph was thirty-years-old.

Elevated to the Palace

After interpreting Pharaoh’s dream, Joseph was placed second in charge of Egypt by Pharaoh himself.

What We See About Joseph’s Crisis

During Joseph’s times of crisis, we see someone who remained faithful to God. We never see Joseph getting angry or blaming God. We see someone God walked with through each turn of events. Not only did God walk with Joseph through each crisis, others noticed.

Near the end of Joseph’s story, we see someone who endured his life of crisis. We also see someone who forgave those who set that life in motion.

Joseph declared that what his brothers meant for evil, God meant for good. It wasn’t Joseph’s brothers who sent him to Egypt. Joseph said it was God.

Forgiving his brothers didn’t mean Joseph forgot what they did to him. What it meant was that although what they did was extremely painful, the wound of their betrayal could no longer hurt him.

In fact, he reminded them of their betrayal when he said, “Whom you sold into Egypt.” No denying what they did. No denying Joseph knew what they did.

Although Joseph’s times of crisis caught him off guard, his response was to trust God and remain faithful to him.

Your Turn

I pray you never find yourself, or someone you love, in a state of crisis, but I fear you might. One thing I’ve learned through the crises I’ve faced, and the crises my loved ones have faced, is this. Our particular crisis may have caught us off guard, but it didn’t catch God off guard.

Before the beginning of time, God knew the exact moment our crisis would hit. He allowed it to happen. And because God filtered our crisis through his hands before it ever reached us, we can trust he will see us through it.

God may not get us through our crisis in the way we’d like, but he’ll never leave us as we walk through it. Like Joseph, may we trust God, and remain faithful to him in our times of crisis.

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But Joseph replied, “Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you? You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. Genesis 50:19-20 (NLT)

I wish you well.


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