God’s Presence in Hostile Places

GOD’S PRESENCE IN HOSTILE PLACES

The Lord was with Joseph, and he became a successful man, and he was in the house of his Egyptian master. Genesis 39:2

         Joseph was called a successful man. How can that be? He was in hostile territory with limited influence. He was a slave. He was the victim of his brother’s scheming. He was far from home. He was trying to process an exorbitant amount of pain and yet this emotional challenge did not preclude him from ‘success’. Could the reason be that Joseph sought the Lord in the midst of his confinement?

         It’s difficult to dwell in a place where I don’t belong, a place where freedom is absent. When confined, the default response is to fight and to live in angst. The discomfort of slavery is consuming and all energies are spent trying to figure out how to get out! The thought of making ‘Egypt’ home and working with God for spiritual success is usually the last thing on my mind. Instead of seeing God as an ally, I view Him as an adversary and blame Him for bringing me to a place of internment.

         If anyone had good reason to struggle with God’s sovereignty, it was Joseph. He could have been bitter and turned his back on the faith of his fathers. He could have taken up ranks with the rest of the slaves and become nondescript. But his heart stayed open to God and he cooperated with purposes of God’s design on his life.

         Can I be a Joseph in the place where I’m churning? What would it look like for God to make me successful right here? Can I take all the energies I’m currently spending trying to escape and invest them in Egypt? Would those who oppress me be moved if they saw me joyful in affliction instead of bitter? What if I took my little corner of influence and infused it with the glory of God?

         May it be! As God’s child, I must learn to thrive in captivity. The world is an anti-kingdom. The culture is foreign and I am peculiar. However, everything I touch and my very demeanor can stir up confusion and wonderment. God’s presence begs to affect everything I happen to graze with spiritual success.

May it be said of me, “The Lord was with her and she became a successful woman.”  Amen

Journal Question: Take every question in this devotional and answer it. Ask God to help you discern the barriers to spiritual success and take note of them. Unless they are identified, they can’t be surmounted.

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