April 8, 2019
Thriving in the Desert Places

by Judy Mzungu

The land of Midian – that unknown place you find yourself in. Betrayed by family, struggling through financial difficulty, a broken relationship, a major disappointment – that place that makes you completely lose your bearing.

That place where it feels like every hope and dream is gone.

That’s exactly where Joseph – in the Bible – found himself. Betrayed by his brothers and robbed of his physical identity – a coat of many colors; Joseph lost his ‘title’ and what he knew in earthly connections.
He was literally thrown into a dark pit – all his dreams shattered. Not only must he have given up on life, but his own brothers completely wrote him off… No, pronounced him dead.

And so it happens in our lives sometimes. We are thrown into a pit – that dark place, where we are too tired to try again. Nothing simply works. The only thing we can do is sit by – listless, drained, and unable to make any move. It seems like we have lost the fight.

Just like Joseph was pulled out of the pit and sold to the Ishmaelites as a slave, something will come up – something to keep us going, a life jacket to help us hold on to dear life. It’s not our ideal, but suffice to say; gives us a chance of survival. So we hold on to the reins, through the rough journey; as life thrusts us forward – deeper into the Unknown. Everything we ever knew fades into the distance. We are gripped – no, numbed by fear.

As fate would have it, another door opens – even in the midst of our dark circumstances.
Like Joseph, you land into the house of Pharaoh’s official, albeit as a slave. You are relieved. You just landed a ‘plum job’ in the home of one the country’s tycoons. Life has changed. Depending on your disposition, you either throw a party or share a testimony in your church – Times are Good. Things are looking up.

Scripture tells us in Genesis 39 verse 2; Joseph prospered. His ability to overcome past betrayal, to bounce back, and morph into his new environment is admirable. Verse 3 says that the master saw that God was with Joseph and gave him success in everything he did. Joseph stood out not only by the work of his hands but also through his conduct. The Bible paints a picture of a man with an excellent spirit and impeccable decorum.

You see, it’s one thing for us to give our best in our ideal situation; it’s yet another thing to give our ALL in less than ideal circumstances. Joseph thrived in a Desert Place – not only because God was with him; but also because he applied himself to his part in the equation. As a matter of fact, Joseph has his first stint as an Administrator in Potiphar’s house. That’s when he discovers his administrative abilities and is given charge over Potiphar’s entire household.

Being a hopeless romantic, I would have liked to end the story here – I love happy endings. Unfortunately, at what seemed like the height of his career, Joseph faced yet another betrayal. This time, by his boss’ wife.
Attracted to him, she made passes at him – and upon his refusal, implicated him in alleged attempted rape. Her husband, in anger, sent Joseph to prison.

Joseph hit yet another deep. His moment of celebration was short-lived. His refusal to compromise cut short his party.

Joseph had clear values that guided him. While those values took him to high places; in the midst of a contrary value system, the same values took him to the pit. John 1:5 rings true, “And the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not”. Darkness can simply not stand light.

As you journey through life, you must make a choice – To Blend In OR to Stand Out; to Conform or Stay True. Either way, there’s a price to pay.

I pray that, like Joseph, God will grant us the grace To Remain True To What We Believe In. To Stand Out. To Be Authentic.

That we will have the courage to let our light shine in season and out of season. As Jesus Christ taught us in Matthew 5:16

“Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven”.

Thriving in the desert places is more about finding greater definition in who we are than what we do.
It’s about being so Consistent that even in the greatest heat, faced with our biggest challenge, our fundamental Values and Character remain the same.

What do you stand for? What are you willing to pay a price for?

When they talk about Personal Branding – this is exactly what it is.

The desert place is really a place of Self-Discovery… journey on! Bon Voyage!


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