Once the sun eventually came up, page 335 was warm and sunny for the first half of the day but by mid-afternoon the clouds had brought rapidly falling temperatures with them. As it is Wednesday, today is one of my long workdays so I’m writing this during a break between teaching a 1st through 3 grade class and cleaning the building to get it ready for tomorrow. The day began with the usual cleaning and building prep followed by some serious prayer time and work on what God would have me share with my evening class. I spent some time working on my schedule and I think I registered to have a display at the Christian Camp Leaders’ Conference in late January next year.
By mid-afternoon it was time for a break, so I headed out to lunch and then down to Potato Creek to enjoy the afternoon sunshine. As I headed down to the park, the clouds began to stack up quickly and by the time I arrived the sun had mostly disappeared behind the clouds and the breeze coming off the lake was quite cold. With no eagles sightings and the sun hiding behind the clouds, I didn’t take many pictures. The ones I did take seemed to match my emotional mindset — a gray cloudy darkness. I suppose part of it is the typical let-down after the pouring out of myself at a conference. Things such as ICOM are so encouraging from a ministry perspective, but so draining on a personal level. I press on, hoping that someday it will feel like I belong somewhere but I suspect that is not likely until I arrive to my home in heaven.
As it turned out, the lesson I taught tonight was about the life of Joseph. The theme woven throughout my teaching was God is with us in times of trouble. We even played the old board game, Trouble, as I told the story of Joseph and how God was with him in all of his times of trouble. So often, we think that God being with us in times of trouble means that He should get us out of the troublesome times. He does that, but rarely does it happen in the way or time that we would like. God did get Joseph out of a variety of troublesome times, but it was always according to God’s timing which included years of waiting. Yet even in the waiting, it appears that Joseph understood God was with him in times of trouble. I believe it was that realization that helped Joseph see the bigger picture when his brothers showed up looking for food. Most of us would have been at least tempted to get even, but Joseph could see the hand of God using his troubles to rescue not just the Egyptians, but his own family from a time of severe famine. So often, I need the reminder that God is with me in times of trouble because I have such a difficult time seeing through the clouds of darkness. Sometimes the darkness is in my own mind and sometimes it really is a darkness of rejection, but regardless of the source I must always keep in mind that God is with me.
I pray that you and I would enjoy the warmth of God’s presence and realize He is with us even when the gray clouds gather in our life. I pray that we would be involved in teaching others, not from our own wisdom but out of our time spent with God. I pray that we would believe that God is always with us in or troubles. I pray that we would look for the bigger picture story of how God will use our troubles as we wait upon Him. I pray that we would never lose our longing for the heavenly home that God is calling each of His children to.