8.3.15 "The Inside Story"

The Scripture for today is Genesis 41:28-40 28-32 “The meaning is what I said earlier: God is letting Pharaoh in on what he is going to do. Seven years of plenty are on their way throughout Egypt. But on their heels will come seven years of famine, leaving no trace of the Egyptian plenty. As the country is emptied by famine, there won’t be even a scrap left of the previous plenty—the famine will be total. The fact that Pharaoh dreamed the same dream twice emphasizes God’s determination to do this and do it soon.

33-36 “So, Pharaoh needs to look for a wise and experienced man and put him in charge of the country. Then Pharaoh needs to appoint managers throughout the country of Egypt to organize it during the years of plenty. Their job will be to collect all the food produced in the good years ahead and stockpile the grain under Pharaoh’s authority, storing it in the towns for food. This grain will be held back to be used later during the seven years of famine that are coming on Egypt. This way the country won’t be devastated by the famine.”

37 This seemed like a good idea to Pharaoh and his officials.

38 Then Pharaoh said to his officials, “Isn’t this the man we need? Are we going to find anyone else who has God’s spirit in him like this?”

39-40 So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “You’re the man for us. God has given you the inside story—no one is as qualified as you in experience and wisdom. From now on, you’re in charge of my affairs; all my people will report to you. Only as king will I be over you.”

“God has given you the inside story—no one is as qualified as you in experience and wisdom.” As a child growing up in a military family and continuing to move throughout my life – I was often “the outsider”.  I have lost track of all of the various schools that I attended growing up, but I do remember many first days.  I remember the feeling of not fitting in, not knowing anyone, being uncertain of whether or not I would find a friend.  I remember being awkward and uncertain – not speaking from the common experiences of the kids that had gone to school together and lived in the same neighborhood for years.  That pattern continued into adulthood as I pursued a military career.  Moving every two to three years made it easy to live a very transient life – packing up and moving on when the time came.  But that is only part of my story.

My Father in heaven has given me another identity.  In God’s kingdom – I am an “insider”!  My personality and life story qualifies me with experience and wisdom that is unique to me.  Jesus redeemed me.  Jesus loves me.  Jesus leads me to the people and ministry that I am uniquely qualified for.  God uses my experience of being that uncomfortable outsider in a new place to give me sensitivity for people seeking connection and friendship, whether it is at work, in my personal life or at church.  God uses my experiences of living in many different places and experiencing other cultures to help me to appreciate and relate to people who are different from me.  God uses the pain that I feel over the brokenness and dysfunction in my extended family to give me compassion toward people experiencing this brokenness and pain in their own lives.

There are many examples of how God uses my unique story to help me to connect with others, but that isn’t really what I want to focus on.  My story is just one example of how God can use our “inside story” to minister in his kingdom.  When we drop the façade and open our hearts to how God desires to use us, we can be powerful forces for good in his kingdom.  We don’t have to be perfect in any way – we just have to be obedient.  Our messy, imperfect struggle and God’s faithfulness in redeeming it may be just the thing that someone else needs to hear.  Our story may be just the thing that encourages them to seek a redeemed life in Christ.  Ask God to show you how YOUR story can have impact in HIS kingdom!

Lord Jesus, thank you for my story.  Thank you for the good times, the bad times, the struggles, the trials and yes, Lord – even the hurts.  Thank you for redeeming me and my story.  Help me to reach others with the good news that you love them and can redeem their story.  I love you, Lord Jesus.  Amen.