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Not Why, But How? Part 1

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 the 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 after the death of their father, Jacob: “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 I have dug myself into a dark hole. I spiral deeper and deeper, getting temporary relief as my mind is occupied by imagining an answer to why, but then realize I have wandered so far from the light. 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 shouldn’t stay there forever ─ for if I do, I give room for despair, depression, and utter desolation to set root in my soul...

A Moment to reflect:
  1. What are the questions you most often ask yourself when you're facing crisis or a difficult time?

  2. How do you typically wrestle through these sorts of difficult "why" questions?

  3. Have you ever spiraled into a "dark hole" before and sat to long in the "why" questions and despair? What are ways you've learned to help ground yourself? What are ways you want to grow in learning to be honest with your feelings and struggles yet not spiral into the place of despair and depression?

  4. How can you invite Jesus into these places?

By Kaelah Byrom- an excerpt from For Such A Time As This: Walking Through Crisis *A moment to reflect is added for this post.

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