We woke up this morning to a chilly but bright sunny morning. For those of us in the grip of a cold, dull, extended English winter, that is good news indeed. It makes you feel sooooo much better! I love sunsets too, and fluffy white clouds against a bright blue sky. Don’t these things just make you want to praise God their maker! But what about when life is cold and dull, and when bad news is just followed by worse news…? It’s hard to keep praising God then.
Joseph found himself stripped of his beautiful coat and dumped into an empty water cistern (Genesis 37:24). What was in it? Nothing! Normally it would have been filled with water- that was its purpose. But on this occasion it was just empty. Yet what a blessing that emptiness was. The lack of water was the blessing, or Joseph would have drowned.
The next scene finds Joseph sold as a slave to merchant caravan, and sent on his way to Egypt (verses 25-28). It was ‘loaded with spices, balm and myrrh’. Loaded. Here Joseph was in a place of plenty. Riches abounded around him. Did he benefit? I seriously doubt that it helped him one jot. The plenty that surrounded him here, was no blessing.
So it seems that our surroundings are not the issue when it comes to blessings. We need to learn to praise God in plenty, and praise him in the empty times. We need to learn that God can take any situation and turn it around for good. We need to learn that trusting God does not depend on our circumstances. It’s often only after the event that we can trace God’s hand on our difficulties, and recognize that we needed to go through the dull, the empty, the nothing, the problem, in order for his wonderful deliverance to be worked through.
The blessing for Joseph was not in the poverty, and it was not in the plenty, but simply in the presence of God.
Yesterday things were all going a bit awry. I was tidying away the shopping, and washed the grapes. I tasted one, and it was wonderful! God told me, in the midst of difficulty, don’t miss out on the little blessings all around. His presence is here with me, so there must be some blessings here too. Don’t miss them!