In the Darkest of Times, God is at Work

Nose picking will limit job opportunities.”

No truer words spoken my friends!

I can see it now on a t-shirt or a bumper sticker…

As I met with Sarah’s teacher and specialists, we were sharing our frustration of Sarah’s nose picking and how that limits her work. Can she work in food prep? Nope. Gross! Stock shelves in the school store? Bag groceries? She can’t if she picks her nose and then touches things. Wash dishes? Laundry service? She can’t touch clean dishes or clothes if her fingers have been in her nose.

We were brainstorming ideas and we determined that she could vacuum a room (custodial) if they sterilize the vacuum handle afterwards. It was something, but the fact remained that we needed to stop this behavior to give her more work opportunities.

Her Autism program is amazing! This past year I have seen firsthand since I was with her for her online learning for most of the school year. All day I saw these amazing teachers pour into these students to help them learn skills to obtain jobs and live as independently as they can when the student turns 26. These teachers are taking these years from age 18 to age 26 to prepare them for the rest of their lives.

God does the same thing with us.

This past spring, I was studying the book of Genesis in my Bible study. I saw with fresh eyes how God was at work and preparing Joseph during his darkest of days. Joseph was sold into slavery at age 17 and taken to Egypt. He was working at a home of a government official and soon was promoted as the head of the household. Later, though he was innocent, his owner threw him into prison. Yet again, God was with him, and he rose to position of leadership inside the jail. Then at age 30, 13 years after coming to Egypt, he was released from prison and made second in command of the entire nation, second only to Pharoah. Wow!

There were moments, though, in Joseph’s story that were very dark and depressing. There was a chance for him to get out of prison, but he was soon forgotten and left there. I can only imagine how he must of have felt in that awful place, wondering what God was doing…but God was at work!

I realized that God used these dark times of waiting for Joseph:

  • To become fluent in a foreign language. He learned and was so fluent in it that when he saw his brothers 20 years later, they had no idea who he was (Genesis 42:8). He needed to be fluent to lead a nation. God prepared him in those 20 years.
  • To learn how to manage businesses and people. His time of running a household, then a prison, God used to prepare him to lead a nation (and the area nations) through the worst famine ever known.
  • To learn the culture. His time of waiting taught him the nuances of Egyptian culture, so he knew how to look before Pharaoh and their eating customs (Genesis 41:14, Genesis 43:32). This is the one that I never realized before….When the Israelites came to Egypt to live, Joseph protected them by telling his brothers to say they were shepherds. Joseph knew the Egyptian culture detested shepherds, so they could be left alone and could live in peace in Goshen (Genesis 46:34).

The Israelites’ faith, identity, and culture remained intact while living in a foreign polytheistic country because of Joseph and what he learned during his darkest times. There was no intermarriage, no becoming absorbed into Egyptian culture while they were there. God was with and prepared Joseph in all those years of waiting to protect Israel from the famine and allow them to grow as a nation in safety.

To be honest, we are tired of dealing with the nose picking (and other OCD issues-see Prayer Requests). It’s a daily battle and we lose, but I’m encouraged by Joseph’s example. While we can get discouraged and frustrated, we know and walk in faith that God is preparing Sarah (and us) for what lies ahead. Even in the darkest of times, we know He is at work! God wastes nothing and can use all things for His glory!

I look forward to the day of seeing what God has planned for Sarah!

Bless and thank you for your ongoing prayers for her! We are so deeply grateful!!

But Joseph said to them…you (his brothers) intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50:20

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28