Genesis 50:15-21 (NIV)

15 When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “What if Joseph holds a grudge1 against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?”2 16 So they sent word to Joseph, saying, “Your father left these instructions3 before he died:17 ‘This is what you are to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins4 and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly.’5 Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father.6” When their message came to him, Joseph wept.7 18 His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him.8 “We are your slaves,”9 they said. 19 But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God?10 20 You intended to harm me,11 but God intended12 it for good13 to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.14 21 So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.15” And he reassured them and spoke kindly16 to them.

Romans 8:28 (NIV)

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good1 of those who love him,a whob have been called2 according to his purpose.3                            

DEVOTION – W. Edward Clymer (Oklahoma)

At the age of 60, and after 21 months of incarceration, I am preparing to leave federal prison.  This causes me to think of the despair and fear I felt when I entered prison.  I was angry and bitter.  My wife divorced me.  I lost everything I had.  But God was revealed to me, and I began to learn what Job and Joseph learned: In times of tragedy, God does not leave us.  In fact, God is never closer.

The stories of biblical heroes affirm the truth that when we are faced with opposition, faith restores us.  God uses our trials to develop our character and faith.  We naturally seek God most desperately when we are walking through life’s valleys.  I have learned that God is never closer than when I am in the valley.  Fear has strengthened my faith.  God awaited my earnest and sincere cry for help.  God has used my incarceration to grow my faith and character beyond anything I thought possible.  God stands ready to give us comfort and strength,

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Our fear can bring us nearer to God.

PRAYER: Dear God, sometimes we forget your promise to be with us and to sustain us.  Forgive us, and help us to grow in faith.  Amen.