Saturday, January 22, 2011

Intended for good

Yesterday was another snow day in our county. This meant I could "work from home" and spend the day with my kids. My job includes providing counseling for tmiddle and high school students who have landed in the schools' Moderate Intervention Service classrooms because of severe behavior problems or mental health diagnoses. Though I love my job (on most days), a day out of school now and then isn't such a bad thing for me. The kids don't mind being out either! They had another fun day playing in the activity that usually doesn't end up in fighting!

Quiet time at home also gave David time to be creative. Mimi and Papa gave him a big bin of art supplies for Christmas. The boy loves to cut paper to make various things, usually animals and snowflakes. It is cool  to see what he creates:

A reindeer he designed and made

An owl he made out of a paper guitar

As the kids found ways to keep busy, I found time to catch up on my "reading through the Bible." I have tried this many times in the past, but have failed miserably. This year we picked out a chronological Bible,which has a reading plan for each day. Though I had fallen behind this past week, I was able to get back on track.

I read about the life of Joseph (yes, I said life...I was really behind!).  As a teenager, Joseph was sold into slavery by his older brothers, who then told their father he was dead. A series of bad events followed. As a slave, he worked for a man named Potipher. He was wrongly accused of sexual misconduct and served time in prison. Through all of these difficult times, God was with him. Eventually, he was placed in a leadership position in Egypt by the king and was able to help prepare for a famine and provide for the people.

Through the famine, he came back into contact with his brothers and eventually his father. In their time of need, despite their history, Joseph made provisions for his family and they moved to Egypt.  After their father died, they feared Joseph still held a grudge with them and asked for forgiveness. 

Joseph's response has stayed with me: "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." (Genesis 50: 19-20). This is an amazing response, one that both encourages me and challenges me.

I embrace these words as I have seen difficult things in my own life that God intended and uses for good. However, the words challenge me as I think of many people in my life who have suffered and struggle:  sweet friends and family members who will have to face difficult anniversaries of many kinds this year, friends who have lost jobs--for the second or third time in less than a year, friends who are learning how to care for their elderly parents, those who are still displaced after the flood in Nashville last May, and others who struggle in many other different ways. I pray for God's mercy and grace in the pain, hope for the future, and God's sustaining love through it all.

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