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Learning Through Relationships

When is the last time you looked back over your life to see the people God placed in it at just the right time? I’ve been reflecting this week on my entire life as an exercise in faith. I spent time looking back thinking about the people who have mentored me in the faith. I’ve also spent some time thinking about the people who were brought into my life for a brief period and then were gone again. As I’ve done this exercise, I have been able to see God’s hand on the relationships He’s brought to me. It has also built my faith in trusting Him with the relationships He has given me right now.

Sometimes we don’t understand why God has brought certain people into our lives. Some rub us the wrong way. Some push us out of our comfort zone. Some challenge everything we say. Some make us want to run away. As I’ve mentioned those, you’ve probably put some names to those people in your life right now. We all have people in our lives that we are grateful for. At the same time, we also have people in our lives where we wonder what God is thinking! We’d rather that they not be in our lives. In looking back, I’ve found that those people shaped me as well. The ones who rubbed me the wrong way actually acted like sand paper and smoothed out some of my rough edges.

When I look at the story of Joseph in Genesis 37, I see the relationships God put in his life. The first relationships you see are with his dad and brothers. His dad loved him, but his brothers didn’t. When his brothers sold him to the Ishmaelites, God put Potiphar in his life. Potiphar was the captain of the palace guard for Pharaoh. When Joseph did well for him, he made him his personal assistant. Joseph got to see the inner working of Egypt. He got to see how to act in the presence of a king. He learned how to be an effective administrator which he would need later.

After being wrongfully put in prison, Joseph used the skills he learned from Potiphar to run the prison. He leveraged the relationship with the guards and eventually the warden to be put in such a position that he was over all the other prisoners. It was then that he met two prisoners who worked in the Pharaoh’s court. He was able to interpret their dreams putting him in direct relationship with someone who had Pharaoh’s ear. When Pharaoh had a dream no one could interpret, the released prisoner mentioned Joseph. He was then able to be put in a position to save his father and brothers.

You may not understand the relationships you have right now, but God is using them to get you where He needs you. Joseph could have sulked that he was a slave or a prisoner and spent his life being bitter. Instead, he took bad situations and forged relationships he wouldn’t have made any other way. He looked for opportunity instead of excuses. He built relationships instead of resentment. Looking back it’s easy to see what God was doing. I’m sure Joseph didn’t understand why he had those relationships at the time. He accepted the people that God placed in his life, learned from them and moved on.

Who is God trying to use in your life right now?
Have you been building resentment toward them or relationships them?
What do you need to do to learn from each relationship?

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