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Hope for When You Feel Squeezed and Broken - Encouragement for Today - April 21, 2015

  • 2015 Apr 21

Ruth Soukup

APRIL 21, 2015

Hope for When You Feel Squeezed and Broken
Michelle McKinney Hammond

"But while Joseph was there in the prison, the LORD was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden." Genesis 39:20b-21 (NIV)

When I was a little girl growing up in Barbados with my grandmother, I loved to watch her make sausage.

First, she would take big chunks of meat and slowly squeeze them into a machine known as a sausage stuffer. Before long, the meat would break down and come out the other side all gushy and floppy.

I used to feel so sorry for that meat.

Next my grandmother would add zesty spices and meticulously squish the meat into encasements. And you know what happened? Some of the best sausage you can imagine was formed. It had a wonderful flavor and a long shelf life.

As you can see, sausage making is quite the process! But the process had a purpose.

Have you ever felt like that sausage? I have.

The process of being squeezed and uncomfortable can break us down, making us feel helpless, alone and sometimes even good for nothing.

We can question, God, where are You? Or, Let’s hurry this discomfort along, OK? (I’m famous for that!) Or even wonder, God, I thought You loved me. What did I do wrong?

Let me remind you of something, friend. Being squeezed by outside pressure doesn’t indicate God’s rejection, abandonment or that He made a mistake. Sometimes in His great sovereignty and love, God allows for our character to be refined. God reminded me of this recently when I was studying the life of Joseph.

You may remember Joseph and his coat of many colors. As a teenager, Joseph had big dreams; however, a series of unfortunate events seemed to circumvent those aspirations. He faced difficult and disappointing times — more than once — and was even sold into slavery by his very own brothers.

Can you imagine going from favored child to slave? I wouldn’t have had a very good attitude about that. "I’m supposed to mop this floor? Don’t you know I watched people mop the floor of my house?" Dear God, get me out of this mess!

But not Joseph.

Time and time again Joseph’s plans went differently than expected, yet he ultimately chose to follow God every step of the way. Regardless of outside pressures and demands — slavery, slander, abandonment or imprisonment — Joseph chose to be excellent. The Bible tells us he advanced because of his positive attitude, and he experienced God’s kindness and favor in the midst of struggles and disappointments.

In our key verse, Genesis 39:21 tells us, "The LORD was with him; He showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden."

Let’s be honest. The refining process isn’t easy or comfortable. Prison was a dark place, a place where Joseph really didn’t want to be … a place where he saw no way out.

But throughout Joseph’s story, God reminds us, very diligently, that no matter how awful and appalling the circumstances, He was still with Joseph.

Want to hear some good news?

He’s still with us, too.

So, friend, if you feel like my grandmother’s sausage, squeezed and broken down, please remember, our God has great purpose in His refining process. He uses whatever He can to form the character He desires for us, His dearly loved kids.

In many ways God works like my grandmother — squeezing and squishing until there’s nowhere else to turn but up. And when God adds the fruit of the Spirit to our lives, then encases us in the shell of holiness, purity and sound character, we too will have a longer shelf life … a life that glorifies Him.

Dear Lord, sometimes my days are hard and I feel squeezed in every way. Thank You for the reminder that You will never leave my side, even when it’s uncomfortable. Please help me to experience Your kindness today in a fresh new way. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

James 1:3-4, "You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way." (MSG)

1 Peter 4:12-13, "Friends, when life gets really difficult, don’t jump to the conclusion that God isn’t on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner." (MSG)

Joseph: Waiting on God’s Timing, Living in God’s Plan by Michelle McKinney Hammond can help give you insight into the power of your choices as you wait on God while pursing your dreams. Watch the first session of Joseph free here.

Visit Michelle’s website for more encouragement.

Enter to WIN a copy of Joseph Study Guide with DVD: Waiting on God’s Timing, Living in God’s Plan by Michelle McKinney Hammond. In celebration of this Bible study, Michelle’s publisher is giving away 5 study guides with DVD! Enter to win by leaving a comment here, letting us know why you’d like a copy for yourself OR whom you would give the book to, if you won. {We’ll randomly select 5 winners and email notifications to each one, by Monday, April 27.}

What situations have proven to be uncomfortable for you? How have you responded?

In what ways can you see God at work in your life today?

© 2015 by Michelle McKinney Hammond. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Zondervan for their sponsorship of today's devotion.

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