Jesus Youth – Canada

Setback as a setup

I don’t appreciate it when someone tells me I can’t do something. After being rejected from the University of Notre Dame during my senior year of high school, I was determined to do whatever was necessary to eventually transfer to my dream school. And I did. After spending
a wonderful freshman year at Holy Cross College, I was admitted to Notre Dame as a sophomore transfer.

I treasure my year at Holy Cross for many reasons. Perhaps most significantly, it introduced me to the brothers of the Congregation of Holy Cross and St. André Bessette, a great model of faith in their
community. When I read these words of St. Andre I was just thinking: Yes a setback is a setup for a comeback: Turn our moments of doubt and fear into times of triumph.

Even some of the disappointments, closed doors, and betrayals – even if they make no sense to us – are parts of God’s plan to move you to your destiny.

Our disappointments are God’s appointments. (Romans 8:28) “And we
know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”

The most amazing lesson for us in the story of Joseph, the patriarch of
the Old Testament, is that God takes our disappointments, and even our
shortcomings, and works them into his overall good purposes. This doesn’t excuse our mistakes, and it doesn’t make God culpable of evil in any way. However, it does indicate that our sovereign God can overrule in any area, and he can work things together for good in the long run.

When Joseph was only 17 years old, his brothers sold him as a slave to a caravan of traders headed to Egypt (Genesis 37).
Instead of exacting revenge, Joseph reconciles with his brothers and restores family unity by extending forgiveness.
(Gen. 45:1–15)

In Genesis 39, Joseph was falsely accused and thrown into prison. It was a critical test in Joseph’s life. Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce Joseph (Genesis 39:6). What a temptation! He was a young man far from home in pagan Egypt. He was seemingly forsaken by God and in desperate need of some “companionship.” Why not? Who would know? But Joseph knew that God would know, and he refused the temptation.

Did you know that you can carry a weapon that will make your thoughts obey Jesus Christ and overcome temptations? According to Ephesians 6:17, one of our weapons is the Word of God.

In Genesis 40, Joseph was used and forgotten. While he was in prison, Joseph came in contact with two of Pharaoh’s officials. Notice again how the sovereignty of God was at work in bringing them to the “same  prison where Joseph was confined” (Genesis 40:3). The two officials
had dreams, and Joseph interpreted their dreams correctly. Pharaoh’s cupbearer was to be released and restored to office, so Joseph asked the cupbearer to remember him. Sadly, when he went back to Pharaoh’s court the official forgot all about Joseph. What a disappointment!
If you’ve ever felt “used and forgotten,” you can imagine Joseph’s  disappointment. His hopes and expectations were dashed. God must have forgotten about him. He was wasting his prime years in that Egyptian prison. At least two years went by with no change.

In Genesis 41, Joseph was vindicated and exalted! God honoured Joseph
for his faithfulness. He was elevated to second in command over all of Egypt, the greatest civilization in the ancient world! Such a position for a young Hebrew man necessitated all the experience of Egyptian life and government that Joseph had picked up during those long years of
disappointment. God knew what he was doing all along – and he still does! Joseph’s story is the story of the whole Bible. It’s the story of glory through suffering, exaltation through humiliation. It’s the story of the cross and the crown, a journey from fratricide to forgiveness, from famine to feast, and from promise to fulfillment.

Will we accept the setback as an opportunity to let God help us leverage it into a comeback?

How can we apply Joseph’s insights on disappointment in our lives today?

Joseph’s story shows that his faithfulness in adversities saved the lives of an entire nation. By extending forgiveness and faithfulness you can also take the movement of JY to its glory

Do you believe this?


(Pastor Jesus Youth National Formation Team & Jesus Youth Calgary. Lives in Calgary Canada)

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