Saturday, 7 November 2009

The Wilderness Chronicles: Day 4

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Lessons in the wilderness; Zaphenath-Paneah's testimony

I'll start my testimony by saying that with God the end of the story is better and sweeter than the beginning. When I look back on my life, I can say with 100% conviction that through it all the Lord was with me. He was with me. I may have had lonely days but I was never alone. Anyway, let me not get ahead of myself, please relax as I share this wonderful exposition of the Lord's goodness and faithfulness.

I grew up in your typical dysfunctional polygamous family. My father, bless him, had 4 wives, 2 sisters and their maids! Although that in itself was a recipe for disaster, it was obvious to all that my father loved my mother most, yes indeed they had strong love, a love that endured a lot of trials and tribulations. I was my dad's favourite for you see although I wasn't the first born, I was the first fruit of my mum after agonising years of barrenness. This didn't go too well the rest of the family especially after my father made me a coat, hmm, that coat was the BOMB if I can say so myself, it was a one of a kind, made to order, picture Savile Row in your minds! I'll be honest and admit that as a lad I had quite a big gob (mouth), I just didn't know when to speak and when to keep quiet, I tattled on my brothers to my dad and as you can imagine the rift between me and them gradually grew deeper.

What sealed the deal for me was the dreams. Yes, I believe in dreams for my destiny was tied to dreams. God blessed me with a unique ability to interpret dreams precisely and accurately. I'll pause here to say that God has given each and every one of us something unique that we can use for Him and these gifts are refined and honed in the wilderness. The gist of the dream was that one day in the future my brothers and even my parents would bow before me meaning that although my brothers were much older, I would rule over them. My father wasn't happy about the way I presented my dream but deep down I know he believed in it. Maybe this was because he understood that God does not respect your position of birth, He respects your faith and His will in your life as an individual.

I knew my brothers were angry and jealous but nothing prepared me for the events that were to change my life forever. One morning, I was going on an errand for my dad and by evening I was a slave en route to Egypt. Tears still come to my eyes when I recall all that happened on that fateful day. I remember getting to Dothan feeling a tad bit upset that my brothers had changed the location of father's flocks without letting anyone know and making me travel so far from home. I remember Simeon ripping off my coat before I was thrown in the well. In taking the coat, my brothers thought they were stripping me of my dignity, my identity as my father's son, my relationship with my family and my destiny. What they didn't know was that they were God's instruments, painful as it was for ridding me of my physical and emotional crutches that I had built my life on. I lost my coat, I lost my family but I still had my God and the destiny that He had prepared me for. Be encouraged, brothers and sisters when you experience loss in any form, with God it's never for less, always for more. In preparation for the wilderness, God will separate you from a number of things and even people and bring you to a place of being alone with God.

I wept as we made our way to Egypt, I wept for the life I left behind in Canaan and I wept for the unknown I was to face. From being a beloved Son in whom my Father was well pleased, I was made a slave. Yes, a slave but I had to look beyond the humiliation to find my identity in God. I may have lost my earthly Father but my heavenly father was very much around. He was with me, guiding me, giving me the strength to wake up day after day to face the challenges life threw my way. God is good, it didn't take long for my master to promote me and put me in charge of his investments. Another word of advice, no matter what level you find yourself be diligent. Do your work well, be on time, put in 100% and do everything as unto God and not man.

Although things were going well in my master's house, I still felt there was more to me than this and I will admit that it was difficult to believe on some days that the dream God showed me was a figment of my imagination because I couldn't see how I was going to get there. Also, the advances from my master's wife were becoming a bit disturbing, I used to be really naive but there was no mistaking the meaning of the look in her eyes when she called me to her room for one silly reason or the other. Well, one thing led to the other, my master's wife set me up and I found myself in jail after being found 'guilty' for attempted rape. I don't think master believed I was guilty for he could easily have had me killed but well the steps of a good man are ordained by the Lord, it's just that sometimes those steps lead to hell and back!

My dear friends, in your prayer closets please remember those in prison. Some innocent people have had their lives destroyed in those institutions. I was broken in jail, I ranted and raved at God. I must have asked 'Why me' countless times, most times the trials we face have nothing to do with sin or making poor choices, they are just God's training school, our wilderness experiences enable us assess ourselves accurately and we learn to love God with our all. If you can praise God in the pit, as a slave and in prison, you know that you have become seasoned, that your love for God is not linked to the things God has given but you love God simply for being God. God came through for me, He showed me that He was with me. He gave me favour and I was soon running things, gaining valuable leadership, negotiation and relational skills. I still continued to have my dreams but I gave them up to God for the fulfilment in its time.

In jail, I met some of the kings servants and God gave me the grace to interpret their dreams. One of them promised to put out a good word for me when he was released. Years passed and no word but like I said I had resigned myself to God, he had been my father, confidant, friend, support and guide for 13 years and had made me into the man I was. Even though you are in the wilderness, don't allow the wilderness get into you, don't allow bitterness take root. Hold on to God tightly. God be praised, I give Him glory for one day I had the opportunity to interpret the king's dream not knowing in doing so my dreams were being fulfilled. It's amazing how life can change so quickly, in the morning I was a prisoner, by evening Prime Minister. I'm a crying lad, I know but words cannot describe how I felt. My former master and his wife had to bow before me, followed a few years later by my brothers. God showed me the big picture that all that happened was a set up for my lift up. For truly that is what the wilderness is, a set up for the next stage. It's a training ground for your next level of work in God. All that I do in my new job, I learnt in all my previous jobs. I aint no daddy's boy, I'm God's boy.

So do not despair my children, God has a plan for your life and it is good. Atimes in your life, it may not seem good, it may seem harsh and painful but put your trust in God. When the arm of flesh fails, remind yourself that God is with you, always. You can bet your last dollar on it. So that's my testimony, I'm sure you know who I am although I am now called Zaphenath-Paneah, I used to be called Joeseph.

All the best and God bless.

4 comments:

Telekinesys said...

Nice angle to the story, refreshing as well.

Favoured Girl said...

I'm loving the series you're doing! I really love the way you brought out the story of Joseph as if it was told by someone I met at a party :)

True, the wilderness is a very uncomfortable experience while we are going through it. But if we let God have His way in us, it is always for our good when we come out on the other side, and see how much better people we are.

Jaycee said...

Wow...I love what you did...how you wrote this in first-person so that it will make a heavier impact on us. Thank you.

Believer said...

@telekinesys: Thanks for your comment. God bless

@Favoured Girl: True, just wanted to try something different

@Jaycee: God bless you too, it is well with you