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Weekly Wisdoms for the week of May 20, 2013

In every situation, there are always two stories—the story you see and the story God sees.

Sometimes life seems to be taking us down a huge detour and everything looks like it's not going our way. In those situations, our life and our story seems to be a disaster.

This is exactly what happened to Joseph, whose story is found in Genesis 37-50. Joseph's brothers jealously hated him and sold him into slavery. Joseph was wrongfully put in prison for raping Potifer's wife, when really he refused to compromise his integrity by sleeping with her. Then, Joseph helped get the chief cupbearer out of jail; however, when the cupbearer had an opportunity to return the favor and get Joseph out of jail, the man forgot about Joseph. Joseph ended up spending thirteen years in jail for something he didn't do.

At this point Joseph's story was going haywire, but God's story was right on track. That's because God had an amazing plan for Joseph's life; God was going to use Joseph to save Egypt and the surrounding lands for seven years of devastating famine. What looked to Joseph like a huge detour was really a great plan of God to provide food for countless people, including the very brothers that had sold Joseph into slavery.

At the end of this, Joseph realized that God had a bigger plan for his life, and after his brothers come to him for food, he tells them: "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives" (Genesis 50:20).

All along, God's story was right on track.

This same principle is also true in the life of Jesus. To the disciples, it looked as those Jesus would be a great king who would rule Israel and return the nation to greatness. They hailed him as a great leader. So, when Jesus was being crucified, the story they saw looked like a major train wreck—this great leader whom they had followed for the past three years was suddenly dead. However, God's story was at its peak—God was in the process of connecting humanity to himself.

There's what you see and what God sees.

When your life seems to be a major disaster; know that God has bigger plans to use your life for great things. The story you see may not reflect the long-term story God has planned. Therefore, trust God, knowing that he works for good in all circumstances (Romans 8:28).

Safety is not found in the absence of danger but in the presence of God.

Even while David was seized by his enemies, the Philistines, he wrote this: When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me? (Psalm 56:3-4).

David knew that no matter what his circumstances looked like -- whether his life was in great danger or not -- his safety depended on God. It is no surprise, then, that David wrote in Psalm 27:1-3: The Lord is my light and my salvation -- whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life -- of whom shall I be afraid? When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident.

When you feel afraid of what other people can do to you, remember that God has ultimate control over your life. However, it is important to note that in order to expect God's protection, you must be in God's presence. Notice that Psalm 91:1-2 says, He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust." In order to be rest in God's shadow, you must be in His presence -- and that means spending time with God, reading His Word, and praying.

Whether the people coming against you are terrorists or just your neighbor, remember that it is God you protects you: The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? (Psalm 118:6).

The principle that safety is found in God is summarized by Psalm 4:8, which says, I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety. You may be in dangerous circumstances, but safety is found not in the absence of danger but in the presence of God.