Joseph: Shifting Perspective
by Kim Gunderson
I’d been planning the trip for weeks, physically preparing for months. This ride was one step closer to my ultimate goal: a century ride. A hundred miles meandering through two states.
When I first started riding, I was a hundred pounds overweight and peddling a bike for even a couple of miles felt overwhelming. If I’d thought about riding a hundred miles then, I would’ve laughed, and quit. But the more I rode and the stronger I became, the more I began to see the possibility could become reality. My perspective changed.
That’s kind of like our faith journey, isn’t it? The Bible tells us that if we have faith even as small as a mustard seed, we can move mountains (Matthew 17:20). God takes that small seed of faith, adds His strength and power surrounded by His plan, and amazing things happen. Some days we’re able to see that, while others? Well, others require a gentle reminder, a shift in perspective. Space to look back and remember moments of God’s faithfulness. Every time we choose to trust God, our faith grows and becomes stronger.
Joseph knew this. Joseph, thrown into a pit, abandoned like garbage, and hauled off to another country all because he was the favored son of his father. Joseph, the slave who stood for integrity, serving and doing his best, accused of rape, and condemned to prison. Joseph, who worked hard to win the favor of the prison guards, made friends with fellow inmates, and was forgotten, left behind.
Yet Joseph had faith. Faith that God was working out His plan (Psalm 105:16-24). Faith that God would do what He said. Faith that God’s purpose would prevail (Psalm 105:42). Joseph had confidence, perspective, and purpose. He trusted and believed that God was in control and would be faithful to do His part. He had a lifetime to practice, to build his faith. It didn’t happen overnight. Joseph trusted God and did what He wanted, regardless of his circumstances or consequences. And God blessed Joseph in the middle of his story. Scripture says God was with Joseph, giving him success in everything he did (Genesis 39:2; 39:3; 39:21; 39:23).
From a human perspective, it would be easy to look at the terrain of Joseph’s life and think, how tragic. What a sad story. Perhaps even wonder, where was God in all of this? Why was he treated so unfairly?
The daily grind of raising kids, wondering if it’s worth the struggle. The late nights and quarts of coffee needed to finish the schoolwork to get the degree to advance your career. Grief overwhelming your thoughts and distracting your mind. A marriage that looks nothing like you expected. A diagnosis clearly limiting the number of your days.
When we focus on the details of our daily lives, it is easy to lose hope, to falter in our faith, to question and wonder whether or not God is even in control. But faith calls us to shift our perspective from the details of our daily lives to focus on God’s grand design.
Can I tell you that again? Faith calls us to shift our perspective from the details of our daily lives to focus on God’s grand design. It doesn’t make our lives easier, or less painful, but it increases our faith and allows us to see that God is doing something bigger than we could ever imagine. It builds courage and strength and faith as we pull our eyes from the present and focus them on our Father.
Joseph did so. That’s why he’s one of the broken faithful, a man who kept his eyes fixed on a mighty God.
“It was by faith that Joseph, when he was about to die, said confidently that the people of Israel would leave Egypt. He even commanded them to take his bones with them when they left.” (Hebrews 11:22, NLT)
“Soon I will die,” Joseph told his brothers, “but God will surely come to help you and lead you out of the land of Egypt. He will bring you back to the land he solemnly promised to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.” (Genesis 50:24, NLT)
Joseph confidently believed that God would remain faithful to His promise to Abraham and make Jacob’s family into a great nation. He believed because he had experienced a lifetime of God’s faithfulness. And even as he faced death, his faith never wavered because he knew God’s mightiness was bigger than the details.
Where has God shown His faithfulness in your life? How can remembering His faithfulness help you shift your perspective from the daily details to focus on His grand design?
Kim is the author of Breathing in Ashes, a memoir that shares her story of hope after the death of her youngest daughter.
To read more from her, click over to www.abigumbrella.com
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