I read this quote about friendship today:
“Friendship improves happiness and abates misery, by the doubling of our joy and the dividing of our grief.” ~Cicero
Isn’t that so true and beautiful?! I’m so incredibly thankful for the friendships in my life…each one is a gift from God and truly brings more joy into my life (and help bear the hardships). Thank you, Lord, for the gift of friends!
On another note, I’ve been teaching the high school Sunday school class at church for a friend for the last two weeks (and will be again this coming week). I’ve been using a study on Jacob & Egypt by John MacArthur about the sovereignty of God. It’s really a very good study. The teens seem to be enjoying it as well. Studying those chapters in Genesis about Jacob really does show God’s sovereignty. Have you ever thought about how dysfunctional Jacob’s family was? Jacob was tricked into marrying the sister (Leah) of the woman he really wanted, then was later able to marry the one he wanted. Jacob favored his children from Rachel, the woman he truly loved…which caused major jealously issues with Leah’s children…so much anger and jealousy that Leah’s children conspired to kill their younger brother Joseph. That was not a part of God’s plan so Joseph ended up being sold into slavery instead (see how God’s sovereignty intervened?? If God hadn’t put a stop to Joseph’s death, his family would not have survived the famine later on, and God’s plan would not have been fulfilled…amazing really). And many other things happened with the children of this family as well…go ahead and look it up in Genesis!
Anyway…what a dysfunctional family! And yet, despite the dysfunction, God used that family for a greater good (don’t you just love that?! it gives me so much more hope that God can and will use me despite of myself). Even when everything seemed to be going wrong and some of those family members were doing wrong, and it didn’t seem like God’s hand was in this at all, IT WAS!! When you read later on in Genesis, you see God’s plan coming together. God is always faithful and He can use the dysfunctions of this world (the dysfunctions in you & i) for good…just like it says in Romans 8:28, “And we know that God causes all tings to work together for good to those who love god, to those who are called according to His purpose.” That is not always easy to remember or trust, but aren’t you so glad it’s TRUE?!
The lessons have also talked about suffering and hardships and reminded us that as followers of Christ, we will be called to suffer…and suffer greatly sometimes. But remember, no suffering (or evil) is permitted in our lives unless God allows it…and when he allows it, there is a reason (like strengthening us, or purifying us, or so we can help someone else through a similar time, or to bring the wrongdoer or others to Christ, or to make us more like Christ). It’s all to bring glory to His name.
Those lessons are not always easy to remember or to follow…but aren’t they worth it? Isn’t following Christ worth it all?!
I am so enjoying this study and learning so much. There are a lot of other things I am still “chewing on,” so to speak…thankful God is growing me and teaching me new things…even when it is hard.