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Weekly Wisdoms for the week of May 8, 2006

In every situation, there are always two stories—the story you see and the story God sees.

Sometimes life seems to be taking us down a huge detour and everything looks like it's not going our way. In those situations, our life and our story seems to be a disaster.

This is exactly what happened to Joseph, whose story is found in Genesis 37-50. Joseph's brothers jealously hated him and sold him into slavery. Joseph was wrongfully put in prison for raping Potifer's wife, when really he refused to compromise his integrity by sleeping with her. Then, Joseph helped get the chief cupbearer out of jail; however, when the cupbearer had an opportunity to return the favor and get Joseph out of jail, the man forgot about Joseph. Joseph ended up spending thirteen years in jail for something he didn't do.

At this point Joseph's story was going haywire, but God's story was right on track. That's because God had an amazing plan for Joseph's life; God was going to use Joseph to save Egypt and the surrounding lands for seven years of devastating famine. What looked to Joseph like a huge detour was really a great plan of God to provide food for countless people, including the very brothers that had sold Joseph into slavery.

At the end of this, Joseph realized that God had a bigger plan for his life, and after his brothers come to him for food, he tells them: "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives" (Genesis 50:20).

All along, God's story was right on track.

This same principle is also true in the life of Jesus. To the disciples, it looked as those Jesus would be a great king who would rule Israel and return the nation to greatness. They hailed him as a great leader. So, when Jesus was being crucified, the story they saw looked like a major train wreck—this great leader whom they had followed for the past three years was suddenly dead. However, God's story was at its peak—God was in the process of connecting humanity to himself.

There's what you see and what God sees.

When your life seems to be a major disaster; know that God has bigger plans to use your life for great things. The story you see may not reflect the long-term story God has planned. Therefore, trust God, knowing that he works for good in all circumstances (Romans 8:28).

The storms of life won't harm you if you have deep roots in God.

In Matthew 13:3-6, Jesus told this parable: "A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root." One point Jesus makes in this parable is that people without deep roots in God will fall away from faith whenever persecution or trials come on account of the word (see Matthew 13:20-21).

Similarly, Jesus encourages his followers to build their house (i.e. their life) on "the rock" (see Matthew 7:24-27). Even though the wind and storms beat against that house, it did not crumble because it was founded on the rock. If you have deep roots in God, your life will be built on the Rock—Christ. As one hymn says, "On Christ alone I stand, all else is sinking sand."

It is no surprise, then, that Paul encourages believers to be rooted and built up in Christ, strengthened in the faith (Colossians 2:6-7). If you are strengthened in faith, then you won't crack under the pressure of difficult situations because you will be able to dig deeply into the word of God on which you are firmly grounded. Unfortunately, too many Christians have a cracked foundation.

Make it a priority to have deep roots in God so that you will not wither under the heat of life. Invest time into reading and memorizing God's word, praying, and communing with God. Be rooted in God.

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