This past Sunday we began our Curveball sermon series exploring the life of Joseph from Genesis 37–50. One of the most profound things from Joseph’s life was his ability to look back at his struggles and circumstances with a perspective that honored and glorified God. But, as we saw in Sunday’s sermon, we (and he) didn’t get there yet.
This is where we find ourselves, almost daily. We settle into the day-to-day struggles of life with such a limited ability to see beyond what’s right in front of us. When we’re on the go but stuck in traffic, we often can’t see the reason for the traffic, so we respond in frustration. When our kids act out, it’s hard to step back and see the progress and growth they are really making. When tragedy strikes, we—like Jacob—fall apart as if everything is against us.
Have you ever watched a sporting event days or even years after it has concluded? The perspective with which you view it later is much different than how you viewed it live, especially if it’s one of exciting ups and downs, twists and turns, and an unexpected outcome. The way you view these events while knowing the outcome is much different than how you view the circumstances as they are being hurled, unexpectantly, at you. When your team has a temporary setback, you can almost find yourself laughing because you know that, in the end, they win. Perspective allows you to even experience those moments with a measure of joy.
As we walk each day, we have the opportunity to experience our ups and downs with the same measure of peace and, yes, even joy. But this is only possibly when we come to embrace the person of Jesus and place our trust in the author of our story—not just one time long ago, but daily.
Joseph and Jacob didn’t have the luxury of seeing the end in the midst of their unfolding story, but we do. Sure, we may not know the immediate details and outcomes of our stories, but we know the ultimate end. Joseph’s faithfulness in spite of unknown future outcomes can teach us how to respond as we walk through our unknowns. Our ability to know and trust the One who has already written our story and has been declared victorious can give us the strength to remain faithful in the midst of our impossible circumstances.
The earthly struggles we face are real; I don’t mean to diminish those at all. But if we can reframe our perspective as we walk through trials, we can not only endure joyfully (James 1:2,3), and with great hope (Romans 5:1–5), but our lives can be a powerful witness to a watching and wondering world.
When you can embrace the truth that God is at work for your good (as He was with Joseph) and His glory (as He always is), you can be faithful no matter the cost or pain. Life will throw you all kinds of curveballs—sometimes relentlessly—but you can be faithful when you embrace the One who has authored your story.
Since we have the advantage that Joseph did not enjoy of knowing the end, let’s not lose sight and lose hope, but trust through the struggles life will bring. Let joy, rather than worry and fear, be what shines through so that others might ask, “Where does your joy come from and how can you have such peace?” Then tell them (1 Peter 3:15).
How has this eternal perspective helped you find hope and joy in the midst of life’s curveballs? Leave us a comment and share your story.
Dave Nicodemus is the Communications & Creative Arts Pastor and has served at Grace Polaris Church since 2007, seven and a half of those as the High School Pastor. Dave joined the Grace staff after serving at a church in eastern Pennsylvania. Prior to that, he studied youth and family ministry, minoring in art at Grace College (2001) and completing a masters degree from Grace Theological Seminary (2003). He’s the husband of Carly and father to Jack, Henry, Emilia, and Charlie.