Pastor Jeff Knott of Grace Church in Port Hope, Ontario begins the series “The Joseph Stories: God’s Purposes in a Dysfunctional World” with “Dysfunction”:
The Scripture shows people warts and all. The Bible is real about who we are as people. Their stories are our stories – the plot is different, the characters are different, the setting may be different, but the things they wrestle with are the very things that we wrestle with. We find parallels in our own lives through the people that we find in the Scripture.
The challenges that come their way are no different than our own. The temptations they face are actually common to us all. The needs they experience are the very same needs that we struggle with. The faith they exhibit in difficult places is something that we can express. The faithfulness of God’s provision is something that we can also enjoy. The redeeming power of God’s deliverance is something we continue to celebrate because He’s still working out our story as He was working out their story. They are fellow travellers with us.
In them we learn about ourselves and with them we learn about our extraordinary God.
Joseph is a very suitable mirror for us, a challenging mirror, but hopefully a transforming mirror.
Joseph doesn’t move from a place of pain to the pinnacle of power without learning a few lessons on the way.
Joseph comes from a place of dysfunction.
By all reasonable expectations, Joseph started in a deficit and probably should have remained there. But this is the good news and this is the genius of God allowing Joseph’s story in the Scriptures is that even with this dysfunction there is a power beyond dysfunction at work in this story and it is the power and the promise of God.
Despite all the mess of his upbringing, God had a purpose for this family.
Dysfunction doesn’t determine who we are, it may have a part in who we are, but it does not determine who we are. It does not have the final verdict over our lives. Yes, it shapes us. Yes, it affects us. But because we are part of God’s family, it means that He gets to say who we are, we find our identity in Him.
God can move us out of that place of dysfunction and into a place of blessing and wholeness because we serve a God who specializes in turning stories around. From brokenness to beauty; from lack to lavish; from heartbreak to heart-filled; from pain to pinnacle. That’s Joseph’s story and our story as well.
Your mess is your message because our story, with God’s help, can become a testimony of God’s goodness, of His restoring power, of His deep love for us. We serve a God of new beginnings and hope-filled endings.
It is the way we declare God’s glory by moving us out of that place of dysfunction to a place of wholeness and healing. It’s a journey that we all need to take and we’re going to take that journey as we look through the story of Joseph.