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Lenten Devotional: Mar 1

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Today’s texts: Genesis 41:46-57; 1 Corinthians 4:8-21; Mark 3:7-19a

Genesis 41:46-57

Joseph was only 17 years old when he was sold as a Hebrew slave into Egyptian hands by his own brothers. In Genesis 41 we learn that after 13 years of loneliness, betrayal and abandonment by those closest to him, Joseph was made second-in-command to Pharaoh. He has persevered, trusting in God’s plans and faithfulness to him despite his circumstance.  And an unimaginable season of honor, purpose and fruitfulness, reflected in the names of his two sons, has finally arrived.

We love happy endings don’t we? And yet, when we are in the midst of hardships and pain, we often find it difficult to believe that God is faithful. When we are hurt, misunderstood or mistreated especially by our families it is easier to react with anger, to indulge in self-pity or take matters into our own hands.

Many Asian cultures place a high value on “endurance,” “patience” and “perseverance” but often this means merely keeping silent and resisting any form of confrontation that might bring shame or disharmony to our families.

But as followers of Christ, our call is to endure hardships not based on a need to maintain harmony or even naïve positivity. It is based on a faithful God who has promised never to abandon or forsake us. It is based on a posture of humility and gratitude that God uses trials to form our character and deepen our faith. It is based on the knowledge that we are children of a loving God who can redeem any situation and bring about his good purposes in and through our lives.

In what area of your life is God calling you to persevere? Will you trust that he will be faithful to you and can give you a hope and a future that is beyond your imagination?

Rev. Nancy Sugikawa is an associate pastor at Lighthouse Christian Church in the Seattle area overseeing the career young adult ministry, missions and evangelism. She received her M.Div. from Fuller Theological Seminary and is ordained through the Evangelical Covenant Church. Nancy also serves on the board of Catalyst Leadership Center which seeks to develop and support the next generation of Asian American pastors, seminarians and lay leaders.

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