Monday, 8 December 2014

How do I love when I am not loved? Advent - Day 8.

Haha, messy dining room table...would have tidied it up for photo, but Squidge (off school sick) was nagging for dinner...what can a mum do? :)

Scripture:

During the seven years of abundance the land produced plentifully. Joseph collected all the food produced in those seven years of abundance in Egypt and stored it in the cities. In each city he put the food grown in the fields surrounding it. Joseph stored up huge quantities of grain, like the sand of the sea; it was so much that he stopped keeping records because it was beyond measure.
Genesis 41:47-49
Name of Jesus:  Bread of Life
Symbol:  Sack of grain

Devotional:

Joseph was 17 when his own flesh-and-blood sold him into slavery.  Heart-break and loneliness must have overwhelmed him.  Rejection.

However, in Egypt, he did quite well in the home of his slave master, being given responsibility over the whole house...until the slave master's wife spun a web of lies that entrapped Joseph and landed him in prison.  Rejection.

In prison, he fared better than most, being trusted and shown mercy by the keeper of the prison.  Two prisoners - members of Pharaoh's household - had dreams that Joseph interpreted.  One of the men, Pharaoh's butler, Joseph knew would be restored to his position and Joseph asked him to remember him to Pharaoh.  But despite the fact that Joseph was correct in his interpretation, the butler forgot him, and Joseph was left the languish in prison. Rejection.

Some time passed and Pharaoh had dreams that needed interpretation and finally the butler remembered Joseph.  From then on, Joseph's star was in the ascendent. Because of his interpretation of Pharaoh's dream, Joseph saved Egypt from famine. He ended up second only to Pharaoh himself.  Egypt had more grain than was needed and became very rich selling grain to the surrounding nations.

The story concludes with Joseph's brothers, suffering in the famine, coming to Egypt seeking food and finding the brother they thought was dead or at least a lowly slave.  They were of course speechless with fear, Joseph, a powerful man, could have sought their deaths or at least thrown them in jail or made them slaves.

But he didn't.

But Joseph said to them, ‘Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.’ And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.
Genesis 50:19-21
No root of bitterness had formed in Joseph.  He does not seek vengeance, but points to the God Who has blessed him mightily.  He reassures and speaks kindly to the ones who caused him such distress - who rejected him with hatred!  Blessing them and loving them.

In his suffering and loss and in his comfort and plenty Joseph feeds not on his circumstances but on the Bread of Life: every word that comes from the mouth of God.  A foreshadowing of Christ, the Bread of Life that sustains and nourishes us.

Can I look past the suffering to see the seed of fruit that may just grow? And I have never suffered as Joseph suffered...but even so, can I learn to be always eyes upward? Can I, like Joseph, say truly:

"...God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering." 
Genesis 41:52
Look at the fruit and not the suffering.  Look at the Great I AM, and rejoice in the moment that He has given me and live and not rot in the past.

Can I push past rejection and hurt and see just how far God has brought me?

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 
Romans 8:28

 Can I truly pray - and live - blessing on those who have hurt me?


But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,
Matthew 5:44

Can I love when I am not loved back?

Can I do it?

No...not on my own anyway, the hurt just overwhelms.

But He can.  It's why He came. Despised and rejected so that we are accepted.  When my soul is starved, He fills.  Our Bread of Life, to feed us and sustain us when we are weakest.

Let Jesus be your Peace today.  Come Lord Jesus!

Happy Advent.

2 comments:

  1. Sarah, I am so enjoying reading your devotionals each day. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete