No one travels far down the road of life without discovering that this journey is not always smooth or perfect. We can pray and wish for safety on the way. We should enjoy the stretches of the ride when the sun shines and things go beautifully. We ought to thank God for the times when we find ourselves singing, whistling, laughing, and smiling as we travel along.
But every single human being has discovered that there are bumps, detours, and even collisions that can bring our joy to a screeching halt. This is not fatalism. It is not negativity. It is certainly not a lack of faith. It is life on this planet.
If you meet someone — a preacher, teacher, or sales person —who tries to tell you otherwise, BEWARE! If someone is peddling promises of a life with endlessly calm seas, perpetual blue skies, freedom from back pain, a guarantee of financial security, and ear-to-ear smiles all of your days, be very, very careful.
The Bible is filled with faithful friends of God who suffered in this life. Moses was violently opposed by the people he spent his life loving and trying to lead. David learned to dodge spears hurled at him by a mad king. Ruth walked through the death of her husband and became a stranger in a strange land. Jeremiah was beaten and thrown into a pit. Stephen, an early church leader, was stoned to death. The apostle Paul was strapped up and beaten no less than five times. The list could go on and on.
Then there is Joseph. He discovered at a young age that the road of life is not always smooth. His story is peppered with rejection, false attacks, deceitful accusations, enslavement, imprisonment, and long stretches of loneliness.
If you have ever hit a hard patch of road and thought, “I’ll never get through this,” you just might want to look over Joseph’s shoulder and learn from his journey. It was hard. It was not a weekend trip but a tour of duty that lasted about two decades! But his story echoes through the centuries to remind us that we can make it through even the toughest of times. We really can.
You’ll get through this. It won’t be painless. It won’t be quick. But God will use this mess for good. In the meantime, don’t be foolish or naive. But don’t despair either. With God’s help, you will get through this.
Watch Session 1 – You’ll Get Through This
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Video Teaching Notes – You’ll Get Through This
As you watch the video teaching segment for session 1, use the following outline to record anything that stands out to you.
- Ordinary people face very real pain!
- Meeting Joseph’s family, with all their warts
- Spending time in a cistern
- You meant it for evil, God re-wove it
Bible Study Questions and Discussion
1. In the video, Max talks about the hard times we face on life’s journey, and he says, “God will use this mess for good.” How have you experienced this in your life?
Read: Genesis 37:12-24.
2. Tell about a time you ended up in a cistern and how you got there. How did you feel while you were in the cistern? How did you plead with God and even with people in an effort to get out of that painful situation?
3. If you are in a cistern right now, briefly share the situation (if you feel comfortable doing so) and how your group members can support and care for you in this time.
Read: Genesis 37:1-11
4. Some of the pain we face in life comes from the very people who should love and care for us — our family. This was certainly true for Joseph. What dysfunctions and unhealthy patterns in Joseph’s family led to heartache and pain?
5. When you consider the road of life you have traveled thus far, how has your family (or maybe your church family) caused you pain and heartache? (Please refrain from using specific names; simply share generally about the experience.) Why do these wounds pierce so deeply?
6. There are many ways we can respond when thrown into a pit by family, friends, strangers, or life’s circumstances. What are some of the typical responses?
Read: Genesis 50:19-21
7. Years after Joseph’s brothers threw him into a cistern, their father dies and they fear that Joseph will at last exact revenge. What do you learn about Joseph’s heart and outlook on life as you read his response in this critical moment? What can you learn from his example?
8. If you were in Joseph’s shoes and came to a point where those who had hurt you were now under your power, how do you think you would have responded? Now, replace the hypothetical scenario with a real situation in your life. How do you believe God wants you to respond to and treat someone who has hurt you?
9. Max talks about how God re-wove the evil planned by Joseph’s brothers and redeemed it for heavenly good. How has God rewoven something that was done to you with evil intent? What good did he bring from it?
What Satan intends for evil, God, the Master Weaver and Master Builder, redeems for good.
10. Joseph’s journey from a cistern in his teenage years to finally becoming a man of influence in Pharaoh’s court lasted about twenty years. How did walking a hard road over time shape Joseph’s character and outlook on life? How has God used a journey of struggle in your life to shape who you are today? How have you looked up and seen God and drawn closer to him through your times in a pit?
Spend time praying in any of the following directions:
- Turn your voice and eyes upward in prayer and ask for the ability to see the face of Jesus looking at you as you do.
- Ask God to be with you in the cisterns of life and pray for an attitude of grace, even in the darkest pits.
- Lift up prayers of forgiveness for those who have thrown you into a cistern, whether recently or as far back as childhood.
- Invite the Holy Spirit to unleash his power to re-weave the evil intents of others and bring good from them.
God gets us through stuff. Through is a favorite word of God’s:
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you (Isaiah 43:2 NKJV).
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What is your “this” — financial woes, relationship valleys, health crises, or something else? Come share with us on our blog and let’s pray for one another!