[This post is a part of teaching notes from the middle school sermon series Changes]
This week we finished our four week series entitled "Changes." Change is a part of life. From the time you are born until the moment you die, change happens. During the years of middle school, there is more change than any other time of your life apart from being an infant. This week we focused on the difficult situations when things change for the worse.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Some changes are good. Some are bad. And some are ugly. The good changes are the ones that you look forward to. Perhaps its a change in getting more responsibility, getting another year older, or making some new friends. Other changes are bad. The bad are a little more difficult. These might be when we have a friend that does something behind our back, when we have to move away from our friends, or when we have to go to a new school that we don't look forward to. The ugly changes are the ones that get even worse than the bad. The ugly changes are the types that nobody ever looks forward to, but because of the reality of life some of these changes are inevitable. Ugly changes are the ones that hurt the most; ugly changes are the ones that hurt you and your family the most. These are the changes like somebody in your family getting very sick, somebody you are close to dying, or a family having to go through a difficult tragedy like a divorce.
What do you do in the midst of all these different changes? How do we respond when things get bad or even worse? One of the best examples of how to respond in a variety of life situations is in the story of Joseph. Joseph is a man who trusted God in the midst of all kinds of changes. Joseph had some great experiences, but he also had some bad and some ugly.
Good: Joseph had dreams from God, he was his father's favorite, and would be highly favored in Egypt
Bad: His brothers hated him and Potiphar's wife tried to trap him
Ugly: His brothers wanted him dead and sold him and he was put in prison for something he didn't do
Throughout all these situations, Joseph continued to trust God and God continued to be with Joseph. It's easy to look at the good situations in Joseph's life and understand why he'd trust God, but as soon as you understand the difficulties that he went through, the idea of trusting God for him was not so simple. In the midst of being thrown in prison for doing what is right, he trusted God. And even in the midst of the horrible circumstances, God was with Joseph. The situations were still terrible, but God was with him.
And the same is true for our own lives. In the good changes, the bad ones, and the ugly ones God is with us. We still might experience the pain and the hurt of all these, but God promises to be with us in the midst of them. He promises to be with us always and walk alongside of us through our pain. The truth is that as a Christian even some of these most difficult, ugly situations will affect our lives. And when they do we can run away from God and blame God, or we can respond like Joseph and trust that God is with us in the midst of them.