Valley of Despair

man on a deserted island

Family: Genesis 41; Mark 11. Secret: Job 7; Romans 11.

I want to start today’s post with a quick shout out to my Grandma, Evelyn York. Last year at this time, I headed down to her house, a place I hadn’t been in nearly 20 years.  I’ve regularly spent time with my Grandma since I was last there, just not at her house, one on one, for an extended period of time.  I cannot tell you what that trip did for my heart.

A year ago, I was experiencing a “valley of despair”, feeling like I was on an island with no one on my side; where most of the time no one had my back. Even though she didn’t understand everything I was dealing with, she came along side, spoke wisdom into my life, and reminded me she believed in me.  My grandma is a godly woman.  She loves Jesus and is one of my biggest fans.  Just 2.5 days with her gave me a renewed sense of purpose and just the encouragement I needed.

Well, my circumstances got worse before they got better, but I’m thankful I’ve now begun to turn the corner. Just like last year, I spent Superbowl weekend 2016 in Florida, one on one with my grandma.  Thanks Grandma for “filling my bucket” this past weekend.  I love you!

As we’ve been reading the story of Joseph over the past few days, I know his situation was much worse than my 2015 “valley of despair”. Genesis 41 starts with the phrase, after two whole years.  Two years is a long time to be in jail for a crime you didn’t commit.  This doesn’t even account for the time it took Joseph to deal with the rejection of his brothers or being sold into slavery.  But do you notice the Bible never talks about Joseph feeling sorry for himself or needing to be encouraged from his “valley of despair”?

Joseph finally got his break when Pharaoh called him up to interpret a dream.  Did Joseph take the opportunity make sure Pharaoh knew he had been wrongly imprisoned? Did he push to be released or did he bring glory to himself for being able to interpret the dream?  He did not.  He simply pointed to God.

Genesis 41: 16, “…it is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer.”

What “valley of despair” do you find yourself in today? Are you focused on your circumstances or God’s power to overcome them? Today I encourage you to meditate on the words of Romans 11:33-36 from today’s reading.  Nothing is outside God’s control.  To him be glory forever.

Romans 11:33-36, Oh the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!  For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor? Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?  From him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever.  Amen (Romans 11:33-36).