We all go through times when we struggle. We have circumstances that make us feel like we are being swallowed up. There are times it’s so dark we feel like we are in a pit and unable to get out. Then there are times that we feel the things we are going through is going to pounce on us and eat us alive. I have been there in all of these circumstances. I was recently reminded of something that I’d like to share with you.
One of the authors during my morning devotions reminded me about three men in the Bible that went through some pretty rough times. In no particular order we are talking about Daniel, Joseph and Jonah.
We know the story of Daniel. He was given an important role to play that made others jealous. So what did they do? They plotted to have him killed in a lions den. Daniel was innocent; just doing what he was told by the King and by God. He knew he was to pray daily to God and follow the King’s orders, but that got him in trouble with others. Have you ever felt like you were doing all you were told to do and still got in how water? You were obeying God or maybe your boss or someone over you but others were jealous of your success and you felt like you were being thrown into the lions den? That is what happened to Daniel. For Daniel there was no way out. But Daniel spent the night doing what he did best; he prayed. God heard his prayer and he rescued him. When we least expect it God hears our prayers and comes to the rescue. God did not fail Daniel and he won’t fail us. Read Daniel 6 the next time you are facing someone who wants to pounce on you and you see no way out of a bad situation.
Next we think about Joseph. Joseph was favored by his father. That didn’t make his brothers any too happy. On top of that Joseph dreamed dreams that were in his favor. Instead of being silent he shared the dreams with his brothers and his father. This added to the stress between his brothers and himself. The brothers plot how they can get rid of this favored child. One day it happens the brothers are tending their father’s sheep. Joseph’s dad makes a mistake and sends Joseph out to his brothers to see how they are doing. He wanted to know how the flock was doing as well. So, he goes out and finds his brothers. He is a long ways off when they see him. As he is coming to them they plot his demise. They decide to kill him, throw into into a pit (cistern) and then tell their dad he had been devoured by an animal. One of the brothers is watching out for Joseph and convinces them not to kill him, but to leave him in a pit to die (this same brother thought he’d come back later to rescue him). Joseph is in the bottom of the pit looking up at his brothers. I am sure he thought his world had come to an end. There was no hope for Joseph and his brothers were not going to change their minds. It had to be a hopeless situation for Joseph. God had other plans for Joseph. While Joseph saw a hopeless situation God saw something else. God had plans and no one was going to interfere with his plans. Just about the time we think our situation is hopeless and we are at the bottom of our pit God comes along and things change. What God did for Joseph he can do for us. If he can get Joseph out of a pit he can get us out of our pit no matter how bleak we think things are.
Finally, we come to Jonah (read the book of Jonah for his story). Jonah is found eventually in the belly of a fish. Can you imagine being swallowed by a fish and being stuck in his stomach. I am thinking if I found myself in the belly of a fish I’d pretty much give up on my life. I’d think it was over with, but once again God steps in and according to my Bible speaks to the fish. The fish vomits Jonah on to dry land. God to the rescue once more. Jonah is not only given his life back, but also is given a second chance to make things right and obey God. Jonah tunes his back on God, went on his own way and ended up in the belly of a fish. Sometimes when we go our own way and decide to do our own things we find ourselves being swallowed up by our circumstances and we think we have lost everything, but again just like Daniel and Joseph and now Jonah God comes in and takes a bad situation and rescues those needing rescued.
Here are three men, one in a lions den about to be devoured, one in a pit with no escape and one in the belly of a fish with no way out. None of us I am pretty sure have been found in a lions’s den, I bet I can safely say not too many of you have found yourselves in a pit or the belly of a fish, yet many of you have experienced desperate times just like these three men. You have found yourselves facing your worse enemy, you have found yourself at the bottom of your pit and it’s looking pretty dark to you. I am pretty sure you have felt at times your situation was so bad you felt like you were being swallowed up by the events that have taken place in your life. There was no hope.
If we look at these situations with these three men we realize there is never a hopeless situation. As long as we continue to keep our faith and trust God there is always hope. He will never leave you without hope.
All three of these men went on to do great things for God. God knew the plans he had for them and it wasn’t being ate up by a lion or left in a pit to die or die in the belly of a fish. What God did for them he can do for you. Not matter how bleak your life might look God has plans for you. Just when you are about to give up hope he will come along and rescue you.
Daniel was faithful, Joseph was favored and Jonah was disobedient, Three different scenarios, yet in the end God changed their situations. God had a purpose for them; he has a purpose for you. When you find yourselves out of hope let go; God will catch you and give you the hope that is needed for the next part of the journey he has planned for you.
Dear God: Thank you for the examples of Daniel, Joseph, and Jonah. They teach us about hope. They show us what can happen when life is the darkest. When others pounce on us, when we are at the bottom of our pit or being swallowed up by our situations you come along and save us. You are always near. Help us to reach out to you. Give us hope through these examples to keep pressing on knowing when the time is right you will answer and come to our rescue once more. Thank you for all you do for us, Amen