Not Why, But How
The story of Joseph’s suffering and God’s redeeming hand takes place in Genesis 37-50. He experienced great pain as his own brothers sold him into slavery, which led to loss of his family, homeland, livelihood, and enslavement. Even when he gained respect as a slave, he found himself thrown into jail unjustly. Joseph was probably asking God: Why? As we read his story, we see that Joseph did not get an answer for many years, but God did bless him as he became a powerful leader in Egypt due to the gifting of his dreams. When a famine struck the lands, Joseph helped Egypt be ready and his position led to reconciliation between himself and his brothers, paving a way for him to save not only the Egyptians but his family too. I have always been awestruck by his statement to his brothers when he was reunited with them: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50:20). It points to a truth that is both beautiful and difficult; as we walk through a challenging season, we probably will not know why it happened (and that is painful), but we can rest in the assurance that God will redeem our suffering.
When I have faced crises, I find myself asking: Why? Why did I have to leave my home? Why is my mother’s health suffering? Why are my friends hurting? Why; it is the most frequent question we ask as we struggle and wrestle through the uncertainties, our emotions, and the tidal waves of life. But why often doesn’t get answered in the moments we want it to.
When I ask this question, I find myself at the bottom of a hole I’ve dug. I can spiral deeper and deeper, and it may comfort me as my mind is occupied by imagining an answer to why, but when I look up, I’ve wandered so far from the light of day. There is a time and place for digging this hole, because honestly, only when I am in it do I truly feel and understand the weight of the circumstances I am experiencing. But I can’t stay there forever-- For if I do, I give room for despair, depression, and utter desolation to set root in my soul.
After we have grieved and asked why, we must ask how. How will God redeem this? How will God restore us? There is hope in this question. As I reflect on how, I climb out of the hole not only thinking of how God will redeem this situation that got me in this hole, but I think of how He redeemed and restored ALL the difficult circumstances I faced before.
I challenge you, as you walk away from this devotional, to continue to reflect and grieve, but most importantly push into asking God how. I believe that God will reveal the answer to how, as you dive deep and ask Him. You might not know why, but I really truly believe God always shows us how. I want to leave you with this hope.
Today’s Bible Reading: Genesis 37-50.
By Kaelah Byrom