Shine, Shine, Shine

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I’m always inspired by stories of people who overcome and show great character when faced with extraordinary challenges. I’m inspired because they recognize that those very challenges make them part of a purpose greater than themselves.  From the Bible  Joseph and Esther show how they understood their transitory circumstances were part of something much greater than themselves.

Joseph – treated terribly and sold as a slave by his own brothers,  imprisoned for something he didn’t do, but then rising in power – only under Pharoah in Egypt.  Could have been a great place for him to exact revenge.  Many years later, seeing Joseph again, the brothers fear pay back will come for sure.  But what does Joseph do?  He doesn’t seek revenge.  He doesn’t say “you shouldn’t have”; “I’m better than you now.”   Joseph tells them,  Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God?   You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them”.  It overwhelms me that Joseph didn’t try to pay them back in kind.  He knew that those unpleasant circumstances he had faced were part of God’s plan, of something far greater than himself.

And then there’s Esther – beautiful Jewish girl who captured the heart of a Persian king. She finds herself in his palace, certainly could have been a life of comfort and ease.  But wouldn’t you know it?  She finds herself there at the time a plan is being devised to annihilate an entire nation – her people.  Esther’s cousin Mordecai  pointed out to her that she might be in the king’s palace at exactly this time for a reason.  So risking her own life she asked for a presence with the king.  And the events that followed led to the deliverance of the Jewish nation from certain death.  Again, Esther recognized that the challenge she faced was part of a purpose  greater than herself.  She chose to risk her life for the greater good of saving her people.

Perhaps you are wondering, as I have, what your purpose is.  You are not alone.  Just one look at the world we live in and you can see the results living without purpose – thinking only of self  –  living only for the moment – living in hate, in anger.

We all have a purpose whether we recognize it or not.  And those circumstances that challenge us are part of something far greater than us. As a follower of Jesus I have confidence that we are all part of something greater than ourselves. I believe part of my purpose here on this earth is found in Philippians 2:15.   “Then you will be innocent and without any wrong. You will be God’s children without fault. But you are living with crooked and mean people all around you, among whom you shine like stars in the dark world.

I pray that when someone looks at me they see a shining star making this world a brighter place.  Even though one small star may not seem like much, hundreds upon thousands of start shining in the dark night sky can truly brighten the darkest of nights.

Shine like a star!