A while back, Carla (my Pastor’s wife) asked me to teach a Bible study on Joseph. Joseph is a type (or illustration) of Christ in the Old Testament, and the study was meant to bring out that truth. I found my notes yesterday and, once again, I just sat in amazement at how God prepared my heart so much for this event that He knew was coming.
Kayla and I were having (decaf) lattes on my balcony Sunday night, and she was remembering how it was so evident that God prepared us for this trial. I have come to realize that God knew this event was in our future. He gave us a choice….to be prepared and walk with Him, or to go through it without Him. We chose wisely. When God began to prepare us, we knew He was doing something really great in our hearts. We just didn’t understand the magnitude. But, nevertheless, God saw this coming and He paved our way with promises and hope.
Just like He did for Joseph. You know the story, right? Joseph was the son of Jacob. He wore the coat of many colors. He was beloved of Jacob and his brothers were jealous. So they sold him into slavery to Egypt. He spent many years of his life in slavery, in prison, and in great hardship. Until God raised him up and used him to bring deliverance to the entire nation of Israel.
But, before he went there, God showed him a vision. God told him that he would be used of God. That he would have an impact on the nation of Israel. God gave him a hope to hold onto while he would sit in that prison for years and years. God prepared him and worked in him while he was there in the darkness. In times when he wondered why, God spoke and gave him dreams and visions.
He knew his life had purpose.
It was the same with Jesus. He came here with a purpose. And, He always knew what it was. He endured great hardship “for the hope that was set before Him.”
That’s what God can do for you. If you will allow Him. That’s what He did for me and Clay. We don’t have to ask God why? We don’t have to wonder why He has allowed this, because He showed us. We knew immediately when this began. We both knew that God was building a testimony that would bring glory to Him.
Clay instantly became an evangelist. It’s been amazing to listen to things that come out of his mouth. He knows that God is using him and he’s honored by that. Your response to the video I posted of Clay was overwhelming. It’s been shared about 150 times and viewed thousands of times already. God is using him as a voice to a broken and hurting world.
So, if you are asking God “WHY?” Stop. We know why. And because God has shown us, and given us that hope, we can make it. We can endure.
He can do the same thing for you! He can show you the purpose for your life so that you can endure the difficulties of this life with purpose and hope. We all have to go through pain and sorrow…..don’t you want help with it? Don’t you want to know it’s all for a reason?
It doesn’t make it easier.
It doesn’t take the pain away.
But, it can make the burden lighter. It makes it bearable when you know that your life is being used by God to demonstrate His power to the world. If you can really let God help you live your life with a heavenly perspective, He can help you understand that this life is only a blip on the radar. Eternity is what really matters. What follows this life is the only thing that has meaning.
Live for that.
Live for eternity.
I want you to see this note I wrote in my journal when I was studying Joseph…..
“Ask God to speak into your life and show you His plans for you. If you are in your prison years, ask God to show you how He is using you. See your life on an eternal timeline and you will walk with victory and love.”
I did this, y’all. For years….really for my entire life….I’ve been praying for God to show me the plans He had for me. I’ve been begging Him to use me. I’ve always desired to be used of God. Now, don’t misunderstand. That is not natural. I didn’t work that up in myself. God did that in me. He put that desire in me. He taught me to pray for His work to be done and His perfect will to be preformed. He prayed through me. I didn’t do anything.
And, isn’t it wonderful to just accept that? We don’t have to do anything. His work in our life doesn’t depend on us. It all depends on Him. Some people have a hard time with this thought because we are influenced by the world to think that we have to be strong and brave and capable. Our culture is filled with self help and motivational speakers. We are buying a lie that says we have to get up each morning and strap on our boots and take on the world.
You have to get up each morning and give your life to Jesus.
So, the good news is that you can just rest and let Him do all the hard work. Surrendering your life to Jesus does not mean you are weak. It means you know how strong He is. We could never live up to what He can do. So, just surrender. Live your life with great purpose and let Him do the hard stuff. I’ve learned this concept so strongly this year.
Almost everything that God has set before us to accomplish has been impossible. And, I love that. I love that most of my days end in this thought, “How did I do that? Oh, yea. I didn’t.” He does it all for me and then I get to marvel at His work.
These truths are especially meaningful right now because the days are getting increasingly harder. Clay can no longer get out of the bed. His legs are too weak to stand. He has completely stopped eating and he sleeps most of the day. He is still drinking water, especially when he takes his medicine. He is confused a lot. But, he still has moments of consciousness where he talks and even cracks jokes. Here are a few good moments from the past few days:
My lifelong friends, Tiffany Barry Ray and Angie DeJean Vercher, came over with their husbands and helped us make a mold of all 5 of our hands together. It was really cool! Clay couldn’t sit up, so he just laid over the side of the bed and we got around him. It was tight quarters, but we laughed and joked around the whole time. I have great kids. And great friends.
You know, this is so sad and difficult, but there are many moments where I sit here in our room with a very thankful heart. Thankful that my kids are having this precious time with their dad. Thankful that we have LIVED our lives to the fullest for an entire year while knowing his end was coming. Thankful that God has provided. Thankful that all of you have loved us so much and continue to show us great love. Thankful for family. Thankful for great memories. Thankful for time. Thankful for Jesus. Thankful for peace.
Our room is so peaceful. I play worship music most of the time. Yesterday, Clay was sleeping. I went over to check on him and he opened his eyes and said, “I love that song.” He is listening and worshipping, even though he can’t say much. God has covered him in peace. It is a precious time for me. I’ll always remember these days by his side.
My father-in-law made me breakfast this am! He’s so sweet. It was delicious. For those of you concerned for me, thank you. I assure you that I’m sleeping at night. I’m resting when I can during the day. I am drinking lots of water and I’m eating. Not tons. I’m really not hungry, but I’ve been eating enough to keep me going. I am allowing the Lord to help me and He is. I read my Bible as much as I can and I sit in the quiet and worship as much as possible.
Many of you have also asked about our kids. I am so thankful that God gave me 3 really strong, grounded kids. They are doing as well as we could expect them to do. I believe that Clay’s strength has given them a strong foundation on which to walk the rest of this path. He has led the way for them and they are following his lead. Thank you for praying for them.
We are so thankful for your prayers and love. Today, you can pray that God will give Clay spiritual endurance. That his spirit will win over his flesh when he feels confused and frustrated by the circumstance. Pray that he will rest peacefully and feel the arms of Jesus holding him. I need strength. I need patience. I need God to keep reminding me of His plans. Our kids need God to feel near to them. Jim and Flo need strength and the hope of God’s purpose for their son to fill their hearts.