Thursday, March 11, 2021

We Can Admit When We're Weak and Struggling

When we read about Joseph in the book of Genesis, we can tend to praise him and lift him up. I’m not discrediting his faithfulness or obedience. I’m referring to when he’s used as an example for attributing our successes in life to our own abilities. I’ve heard his story be used as a self-help example of how to prosper and get what you want in tough situations. Genesis doesn’t describe Joseph’s situation that way, though.

The reason Joseph prospered at anything he did was because the Lord was with him and gave him success:

・“The Lord was with Joseph so that he prospered…the Lord gave him success in everything he did.” (Genesis 39:2, 3 NIV).

・”the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did (Genesis 39:23).

・“I cannot do it,” Joseph replied to Pharaoh, “but God will…” (Genesis 41:16).

・“It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering” (Genesis 41:52).

When Joseph’s father, Jacob, was on his deathbed, he blessed each of his children (Genesis 49). When it got to Joseph, Jacob acknowledged and reminded Joseph that his success and rescue time and again were blessings from the hand of God. Joseph, when attacked (sold into slavery and imprisoned), was able to stay strong because of God.

The next time you’re struggling and battling, don’t look inward. Look upward. Find your strength in the Word of God, and pray for God to be near you and to help you. I find it such a relief that I don’t have to get through life and all its ups and down through my own strength. I can admit when I’m weak and struggling. I can fall into my heavenly Father’s arms and ask him for help.

In the book The Bible Recap, Tara-Leigh Cobble looks to the story of Joshua as an example of where to find strength. She says:

“God repeatedly tells Joshua to be strong and courageous. But every time God gives this command, He precedes or follows it with the promise that He’ll be with him. Strength and courage aren’t things we muster on our own; it’s not just a mental pep rally or a mind-set we meditate our way into. True strength and courage come through being mindful of God’s presence in our lives. He never asks us to do things on our own; His nearness is what equips us to obey. He never asks us to be our own strength or provision— He provides all He requires of us. He’s where the strength is. He’s where the courage is. And He’s where the joy is.”

The next time you see a social media post that pushes you to live in your own strength or to rely on your own abilities, keep scrolling. Then remind yourself of where your strength comes from and thank God that He gives to you from His limitless supply of strength.

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