The AMI QT Devotionals from February 12-18 are provided by Pastor Shan Gian, who serves as the Fenway site pastor of Symphony Church in Boston. Shan, a graduate of University of Pennsylvania and Gordon Conwell Seminary (M.Div.), is married to Jenny; and they are the proud parents of Tyler.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
“Half Empty or Half Full?”
So Joseph said to his brothers, “Come near to me, please.” And they came near. And he said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. 5 And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. 6 For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are yet five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. 7 And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. 8 So it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt.
“Is the glass half empty or half full?” If someone answers that it’s half full, you can presume that he approaches life with optimism, but if someone says the glass is half empty, then he must be a pessimist, perceiving situations with a negative point of view. There’s no right or wrong answer, of course, but what this question shows us is that how a situation is perceived depends on one’s point of view.
If we look at how Joseph’s saw his own life at this point, it seems like he is a “half full” kind of a person. He tells his brothers that it wasn’t because of them that he was in the position he was in, but that it was God who sent him into Egypt so that he could preserve life. This is quite an amazing statement, considering all that Joseph had been through and what his brothers had done to him. If any of us went through what Joseph had experienced, we would be pointing our fingers and blaming these brothers for all of the terrible things we had to endure. Somehow, Joseph’s perception of his life was not that everything was so terrible and that he was treated wrongly or unfairly. Instead, Joseph was able to look at his life and say that it was for good.
Joseph’s view of his life is not an example of positive psychology or proof of the power of positive thinking. He’s not just a “half full” kind of guy with an optimistic view of life. Rather, Joseph was able to recognize the true reality: that his life belonged to God and that it was God’s hand that led him to where he was. When we think about our lives, our stories, or our past, we need to strive to have the same perspective that Joseph had. We all need the faith to see God’s hand working, no matter how good or bad the circumstances in our lives have been. Let us strive this day to see the reality of God’s presence which is with us always.
Prayer: Jesus, I think You for Your enduring presence and faithfulness in my life. Give me eyes of faith to see that You have always been with me, and that You will continue to be with me all the days of my life. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Numbers 34
Lunch Bible Study
Read 2 Kings 6:15-17: When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. And the servant said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” 16 He said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 17 Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
Questions to Consider
- Why was Elisha’s servant afraid?
- Why was Elisha not afraid, in spite of seeing this massive army surrounding them?
- How can we be like Elisha and not fear in our difficult circumstances?
- Because when he looked outside, he saw a huge army of horses and chariots (army of the Arameans) surrounding the city they were in, and they had come to capture Elisha. To see a vast group of your enemies surrounding you would certainly be something to be fearful of.
- Because he could see the full reality of the situation—not just the physical reality but also the spiritual reality. His servant could only see with his physical eyes, but after Elisha prayed, his eyes were opened to the spiritual dimension where he could see what Elisha could see, an even greater and more powerful army, the army of God surrounding them and protecting them.
- We need to pray that our eyes can be opened to the spiritual reality; not only are God’s armies with us, but God Himself, the Holy Spirit, dwells within us always. As 1 John 4:4 says, “…he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” We do not need to fear anything in this world because He is with us.
As you reflect on this day, did you have a sense of God’s presence with you throughout the whole day? It’s easy for us to forget that He is with us, so we must praying continually that our eyes will be opened to seeing Him and His presence with us. Remind yourself of His presence and pray that God will continue to open your eyes to see Him.