November 24 Reflections

Will we allow, our circumstances from the past and present, to fuel our transformation or fan the flame of self-destruction? Will we trust in God who loves us unconditionally and promises that everything that comes into our lives is for our good? We have been journeying through these questions by looking at the life of Joseph. He is one who trusted in the unconditional love of God through all his circumstances (family issues, a slave, treated unfairly, forgotten, imprisoned) and was personally transformed. It was that personal transformation that literally allowed him to be part of changing the world at that time.

I don’t know about you but when I was young, I thought I was going to go out and change the world. It wasn’t too long before the reality of life hit me, and I realized that my influence was limited. I began to hope that maybe I could influence change in a church or a community or my own family. I was reminded of my humanity, my limits, and maybe for the first time realizing I could not change anyone. On my desk I keep a handwritten note that says: “I cannot change anyone. I cannot fix anyone. I do not control anyone.” The only thing I can do is love well.

The following words from an anonymous rabbi have helped me understand my limits and set me free to seek personal transformation and love well.

“When I was young, I set out to change the world. When I grew a little older, I perceived that this was too ambitious, so I set out to change my state. This too I realized was too ambitious, so I set out to change my town. When I realized I could not even do this, I tried to change my family. Now as an old man I know that I should have started by changing myself. If I had started with myself, maybe then I would have succeeded in changing my family, the town, or even the state-and who knows maybe even the world.”

We have a choice: will our circumstances fuel personal transformation or fan the flame of self-destruction? We are going to think about this on Sunday in our final look at Joseph’s life. Some passages to read: Genesis 50:15-21; Psalm 131; Hebrews 12:1-3.

Grace upon Grace,

Pastor Verlyn