Men and women who rise strong integrate the key learnings that emerge from the rising strong process into how they live, love, lead, parent, and participate as citizens. This has tremendous ramifications not only for their own lives, but also for their families, organizations, and communities. Brené Brown.
I want you to know, dear friends, that what has happened to me has actually helped to spread the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to everyone else that my imprisonment is for Christ; and most of the brothers and sisters, having been made confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, dare to speak the word with greater boldness and without fear. The Apostle Paul (Philippians 1:12-14)
One of the great rising strong Bible stories is Joseph’s story– the second youngest son of the Old Testament patriarch, Jacob.
Jacob favored Joseph, and his older brothers were jealous. They wanted to kill him, but settled for selling him down. In Egypt, he became the servant of a high official, until the official’s wife falsely accused him of sexual assault, and Joseph was thrown into prison.
In time, Joseph was discovered as a gifted dream interpreter, and Pharoah put him in charge of a national project to alleviate the famine. Eventually, Joseph’s brothers traveled to Egypt to find food. The story ends with the whole family saved from starvation and reuniting in Egypt. But when Jacob dies, the brothers are afraid Joseph will punish them for their past sins. So they try to manipulate Joseph to forgive them. Joseph’s response is a moving statement of faith:
Don’t be afraid. I am not in any position to play God. After all, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good. (Gen 50.20).
Paul has the same confidence in God’s goodness, even when bad problems (like prison and sabotage) are piling up. I can only imagine the anxiety he had just thinking about another Jew– Jesus– whose outspoken ministry led to crucifixion.
How do WE feel when our plans go to ashes, or when malicious people work to make our lives difficult? I’ve been there; and I’ve hoped to learn from Paul and Joseph and Jesus. They are masters of seeing God’s purposes rise again and again.
(If you missed Pastor Ryan Howell’s intro to the Rising Strong Series at Crossroads, please do watch/listen.)
And all of this relates to part 3 of the rising strong process. In the Revolution, we get to integrate our learnings and write that brave new ending, which renders our hearts more loving, wise and courageous. This has tremendous ramifications not only for their own lives, but also for [our] families, organizations, and communities (Brené Brown).
Isn’t this exactly what Joseph, Jesus and Paul did? They integrated their personal struggle with their confidence in God, and populations of people were saved.
God, open the eyes of my understanding to believe that your purposes are working their way through my messy life and out into my relationships.
Reading Focus for Rising Strong, by Brené Brown
Read or review chapter 3: Owning Our Stories… Press on to Chapters 4-5 whenever you are able.