After you have suffered a while may the God of all grace perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. 1 Peter 5:10
The Lord whispered to me while rolling over in pain in bed one night and said "Joseph's gift was perfected in his wilderness." All that week I had been studying Joseph's life between the pit and the palace, but my focus was on all the times the scriptures noted "And the Lord was with Joseph." Mainly because I'd been sort of in a wilderness of my own and sometimes it was hard to see, feel, or hear the Lord. Anyway, having found comfort that in all Joseph went through, the Lord was with him, I was pretty much done with my study of Joseph, or so I thought.
But that whisper in the night sparked a renewed interest in my Old Testament hero. After further study I realized that while in slavery Joseph's gift of leadership and organization blossomed. And while in prison his gift of interpretation of dreams matured to the point that he found himself called before Pharaoh. The act of exercising his gift for Pharaoh - interpreting Pharaoh's dream - was a blessing in disguise. In doing so Joseph saved a nation, gained his freedom, received elevation/promotion, found a wife, and his name went down in history for thousands and thousands of years.
I am sure that when he was betrayed, falsely accused, and forgotten, Joseph couldn't imagine that a brand new life would one day be his. A new life, a new job and a new family. All because of the gift God gave him. He was faithful over a few things - those few things being his gifts - and God made him ruler over many (Matthew 25:21. 23).
My own wilderness journey began two years ago today when I lost my full time job after almost losing my life. Once the shock wore off, after the pain and shame subsided, I remembered that like Joseph, the Lord was with me. I went back to work part time only to be let go less than a year later. The shock, pain, and shame quickly returned. So did depression.
Then the Lord spoke to me and reminded me about the gifts that He placed in me. And I remembered regardless of where I am in life - on the mountain or in the wilderness - I must remain faithful to my calling, exercise my gifts, and not bury my talents. So I got to work.
First, I re-released two previously published chapbooks as full length memoirs. Then I published three manuscripts that had been sitting on the shelf gathering the dust of the last two decades. By the end of the 2016, I was the author of six books. Pictured below are a few of my wilderness blessings. Some are internal and cannot be photographed. Yet, even as I type this, James 2:17 comes to mind: Faith without works is dead.
June 2016 November 2016
The years that Joseph may have thought were a set back, were his years of perfection. I am learning to think the same of my own.