If anyone had been touched by trauma with a reason to harbor hatred, surely it was
Joseph. If anyone had cause to think God had forsaken him, surely it was Joseph—the
abused Jewish teenager and mistreated young adult.
At age 17, Joseph descended quickly from favored son to forgotten slave.
Then, his calamities only intensified until he found himself abandoned for years in the
filth of an Egyptian prison. He could have easily relived his 13 years of tragedies
over and over again. Assaulted. Abused. Falsely accused. Betrayed. Wrongfully
imprisoned . . .
But he didn’t. Instead, Joseph endured it all with grace. How? The Lord was with him.
The author of Genesis repeatedly emphasized that clue to Joseph’s stability. Sometimes,
the best evidence of God’s supernatural light in a person’s life shines through a calm
and steady endurance—especially if it’s endurance through anguishing trauma.
If the story of Joseph teaches us anything, surely it’s that the best “lifesaving
device” for enduring trauma is the presence of our Lord.
Yet, I think it teaches us more. When God elevated Joseph from the pit of an Egyptian
prison to the pinnacle of political power as Pharoah’s right-hand man, Joseph had the
authority to exact full vengeance on all who had harmed him. But he refused to take
revenge. In fact, Joseph told his brothers that what they had intended for Joseph’s harm,
God used for his and their good. No blame. No bitterness. Talk about perspective!
For that reason, the story of Joseph also teaches us that the best “life-rehabilitation
plan” for moving beyond trauma is the presence of the Lord.
Three pillars in Joseph’s faith-perspective helped him cling to hope through hardship:
- Joseph saw God’s perfect plan in every location.
- Joseph sensed God’s gracious hand in every position.
- Joseph submitted to God’s sovereign will in every situation.
Anyone can embrace these pillars because of the achievements of Christ, our
champion. He made it possible for everyone to walk with God in sustained intimacy
through faith. So, if trauma is threatening to rob you of the joy of Thanksgiving and
the significance of Christmas, don’t loosen your grip on the hope you have in Christ.
Instead, CLING TO HOPE!
If that hope has helped you endure and even move beyond trauma, please help
Insight for Living Ministries spread that hope to many who hurt this holiday season
by sending us a generous financial gift. In Christ, we have freely received the hope of
God, and it’s your donation that helps Insight for Living Ministries freely extend it to
God’s work in our trauma is truly mysterious. But He is present. He is sovereign. He
promises to work ALL things for good for those who love Him and are called according
to His purpose.
Clinging to His presence with you,
Pastor Charles R. Swindoll