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From the Pulpit: When life 'shuts down'

October 27, 2013
By ELDER MICHAEL F. SMITH - Weirton Covenant Church , Weirton Daily Times

Genesis 50:20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.

Sometimes life feels like it's shutting down all around us. The government shuts down. Communication with our teen cuts off. Our marriage is on the fritz. Our health goes on hiatus. Everywhere we turn, life is shutting down. How do we get through? We can't logic our way past the problems. Or yell our way out. And we certainly can't drink our way to an exit ramp.

Let's be honest. Life can be pretty rough, and sometimes it gets worse before it gets better. Just ask Joseph. Remember him? Jacob's son, the one with the coat of many colors and brothers from two different mothers? Those brothers threw him into a pit, and it went downhill from there. Abandonment led to enslavement, then entrapment and finally imprisonment. He was sucker punched. Sold out and mistreated. People made promises only to break them; offered gifts only to take them back. Life shut down. Sound familiar?

But Joseph never gave up. Bitterness never staked its claim. Anger never inflamed into hatred. His heart never hardened; his resolve never vanished. He not only survived; he thrived. He ascended like a helium balloon. An Egyptian official promoted him to chief servant. The prison warden placed him over the inmates, and Pharaoh, the highest ruler on the planet, shoulder-tapped Joseph to serve as his prime minister. And then he used this authority for great good. It's not hyperbole to state that he saved the world from starvation.

What did he know? How did he flourish in the midst of tragedy and difficulty? Joseph knew that in God's hands intended evil becomes eventual good. He worked a plan and he trusted God. He knew that, with God's help, he would get through. This is still true today.

Our hope is in The Lord and the promises of his Word. Romans 8:28 "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." We may not know how and we may not know when, but God will make a way where there seems to be none.

To be sure, the times are difficult. Just as Joseph did, we face governmental uncertainty, family dysfunction and personal suffering. But just like Joseph, we can trust God to trump evil. It may not be painless, or quick. But God will use this mess for good. Don't give in to despair. Don't be foolish or naive. We need a Savior and there is no other name given among men whereby we may be saved but the name of Jesus.

So today examine your circumstance and believe these words and call out to Jesus. He will come and save you.

2 Corinthian 4:7-10: "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed."

2 Corinthians 4:16, 17: "Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison."

With God's help, you'll get through this. Put your trust in Jesus. No wonder we call Him Savior. Amen

("From the Pulpit" is a weekly sermon provided by the clergy members of The Weirton Ministerial Association)

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