“Dealing with the Unexpected”

Life is full of uncertainties and is not always fair. In spite of our personal desires, we often find ourselves in situations that we cannot control. And dealing with unexpected occurrences can cause a great deal of stress and anxiety. And as we are having to face our current unexpected pandemic, stress is at an all-time high. But, in the midst of the uncontrollable, there is One who is in control.

QUESTIONS: What do you do when the unexpected shows up and knocks at your door? How are we suppose to handle life’s unexpected circumstances?

   We will look at the life of an Old Testament character Joseph. His responses to life show us how to deal with the unexpected. Joseph’s story provides us with godly “character clues” that we should implement in the midst of the unexpected.

     We cannot control what happens to us. But we can control our response to it.

The Holy Spirit will enable us to be resilient, and to bounce back (and even thrive) in the face of unexpected challenges.

     During my youth, I once observed a person receive a “gut-punch”. I had seen it done many times on television while watching westerns, where one cowboy would “gut-punch” another cowboy. But this time it was upfront and real.

     A “gut-punch” is something unexpected that takes your breath away. The devil seems to specialize in “gut-wrenching” events.

      Let’s take note of this in the life of Joseph.

  • Gut-Punch # 1- His brothers hated him.

Joseph’s brothers were envious and jealous of him. They unfairly mistreated him.

1). Genesis 37:4-5;8-   And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him. And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more. And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words.

    No one wants to be hated, but there is a spiritual lesson to be learned:

 In order for you to learn how to love your enemies, you must have an enemy.

  • Gut-Punch # 2- His brothers secretly plotted against him.

1). Genesis 37:18-20- 18 And when they saw him afar off, even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him. 19 And they said one to another, Behold, this dreamer cometh. 20 Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say, Some evil beast hath devoured him: and we shall see what will become of his dreams.

    Many times, what those who plot against you fail to understand, is the power thatenables you to stand:

     a). Isaiah 54:17- No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.

     b). Romans 8:31-  What shall we then say to these things? If (since) God be for us, who can be against us?

     God is the author and the finisher of your destiny not man. Rest assured that whatever good work that He has began in you, He will complete and finish it.

  • Gut-Punch # 3- His brothers threw him into an empty well hoping that he would die.

1). Genesis 37:22-24- 22 And Reuben said unto them, Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit that is in the wilderness, and lay no hand upon him; that he might rid him out of their hands, to deliver him to his father again. 23 And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stript Joseph out of his coat, his coat of many colours that was on him; 24 And they took him, and cast him into a pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it.

     Joseph certainly must have felt all alone. The uncertainties of life often cause us to feel isolated; they seem to quarantine us from other people. One of Satan’s main objectives is for you to feel like no one is there for you; neither does anyone understand your situation.

     But, when you don’t understand, find somewhere to stand:

a). Hebrews 13:5b- “….I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

     Joseph earthly brothers certainly forsook him. But what they failed to understand was that Joseph had “another” brother:

b). Proverbs 18:24- A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

     Know this Mount Pisgah: When life’s expectancies show up, you’re NEVER alone.

  • Gut-Punch # 4- His brothers sold him into slavery.

1). Genesis 37:25-28- 25 And they sat down to eat bread: and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and, behold, a company of Ishmeelites came from Gilead with their camels bearing spicery and balm and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt. 26 And Judah said unto his brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood? 27 Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmeelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother and our flesh. And his brethren were content28 Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt..

On the surface Joseph’s life seem to be spiraling out of control. But an invisible hand was actually going before him. What Joseph would certainly come to learn and know, was that he was surrounded by invisible protection.

a). Isaiah 45:2- I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron:

b). Psalm 34:7- The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear Him, and delivereth them.

   At times it is truly hard to believe that God is working things out for our good. Whenever you can’t “figure God out”, you must “faith it out”. Be certain that all of the promises of God are yea, and in Him Amen (II Corinthians 1:20)

  • Gut-Punch # 5- Joseph was falsely accused.

1). Genesis 39:7; 10; 12-15- And it came to pass after these things, that his master’s wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me. 10 And it came to pass, as she spake to Joseph day by day, that he hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, or to be with her. 12 And she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out. 13 And it came to pass, when she saw that he had left his garment in her hand, and was fled forth, 14 That she called unto the men of her house, and spake unto them, saying, See, he hath brought in an Hebrew unto us to mock us; he came in unto me to lie with me, and I cried with a loud voice: 15 And it came to pass, when he heard that I lifted up my voice and cried, that he left his garment with me, and fled, and got him out.

     Just when you thought that life could not get any worst……it does! Have you ever experienced a “double whammy?” At times, satan will throw more than one fiery dart your way. When we find ourselves having to juggle multiple problems, one comfort that we can find is in a promise that God made nearly 2000 years ago:

a). I Corinthians 10:13- There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

  • Gut-Punch # 6- He was thrown into prison.

1). Genesis 39:20- And Joseph’s master took him, and put him into the prison, a place where the king’s prisoners were bound: and he was there in the prison.

     When dealing with the uncertainties of life, often the proverbial “bottom will fall out”. This colossal unexpected event must have buckled Joseph to his knees. Joseph needed a double-knee replacement!!!

  • Gut-Punch # 7- Joseph was forgotten by the chief butler.
  1. Genesis 40:14-15; 23- 14 But think on me when it shall be well with thee, and shew kindness, I pray thee, unto me, and make mention of me unto Pharaoh, and bring me out of this house: 15 For indeed I was stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews: and here also have I done nothing that they should put me into the dungeon. 23 Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph, but forgat him.

     Seven is the number of completions in the Bible. God will allow satan to “test” your faith. Upon completion of a test, promotion will always follow. Graduation day will come Mount Pisgah.

a). Genesis 41:14: 38-41; 43- 14 Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him hastily out of the dungeon: and he shaved himself, and changed his raiment, and came in unto Pharaoh. 38 And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is? 39 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath shewed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art: 40 Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou. 41 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt. 43 And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, Bow the knee: and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt.

     One day God’s promises showed up at the door to Joseph’s jail cell. And God opened up that door which no man could shut. Since God is no respecter of persons, He will do the same for you. Again, when you don’t understand, you must find a place to stand. That solid foundation should be the Word of God.

b). Revelation 3:8-  I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.

Mount Pisgah here are four life lessons that we can take away from the story of Joseph when we find ourselves having to deal with the unexpected:

1). Continue to be faithful to God

2). Continue to trust God. Stand on His promises.

3). Allow God to fight your battles.

4). Give God time to both work out and work in your situation.