Sermons

Summary: We look at how Joseph handled the curve balls (life’s interuptions) thrown at him.

Handling Life’s Curve Balls

October 6, 2001

Intro: We have all had curve balls thrown at us in life. What is a curve ball? It is an unexpected interruption in the normal routine of life. It could be anything from your hard drive crashing 10 minutes before your deadline or a major tragedy falling on your life.

Life’s curve ball’s come from a variety of sources. Sometimes because of our actions we deserve the certain consequences we are experiencing. Other times life’s interruptions come so suddenly and so unexpectantly. We need to expect the curve balls in our lives. We need to expect the interruptions in our lives. We just need to come clean with the reality that the curve balls are coming. Jesus told us himself that in this world we will have trouble! (John 16:33). That word trouble means pressure. It’s a promise. Your hard drive will crash. Loved ones will pass away. You will be sick. Your bank account will be empty at some point.

When I think about people who had a lot of curve balls thrown at them in life, I think about the story of Joseph in the Old Testament. Unfortunately, I don’t have the time to read the entire account of his life so let me encourage you to read it on your own. His story begins in Genesis 37 and ends in Genesis 50. Here is a guy who experienced being sold into slavery by his brothers. He was falsely accused of having an affair with his boss’s wife and then thrown in prison. He faces the very brothers who sold him into slavery. Joseph’s life was full of ups and downs. In his story and others like his there are some important truths we can find that help us know how to handle life’s curve balls.

As you read through the life of Joseph we never see him shaking his fist at God. On the contrary this is what he has to say about what happened to him in Genesis 50:20 “As far as I am concerned, God turned into good what you meant for evil. He brought me to the high position I have today so I could save the lives of many people.” (NLT)

You see Joseph had the right attitude toward the interruptions in his life. How can we like Joseph respond to life’s curve balls?

1). Stay faithful to God!

Genesis 39:19-23

God’s hand of blessing was on Joseph even while he was in prison. We can infer from this that Joseph kept his cool. He didn’t “lose his religion.” He was unfairly thrown in prison but he never blamed God. Stay faithful to God even when no one else does.

A second thing we must keep in mind as we try and handle life’s curve balls is:

2). We must be careful not to allow bitterness and unforgiveness in our lives.

Genesis 50:19 “Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, to judge and punish you.”

If anyone had a right to be angry and bitter it was Joseph. He had every right to punish his brothers like they did him. But he never let that get to him. I realize that for some of you life has been unfair. Don’t let bitterness and anger lay hold of your life. I know it is not easy. Let’s be honest, sometimes we have to fight to make sure we don’t have those unforgiving attitudes. Do what you can. Talk about it. Get help. Keep from having an unforgiving spirit spring up in your life.

ILLUSTRATION: Max Lucado in his book entitled, "The Applause of Heaven," tells about a young man, Robert Reed, who has cerebral palsy. He can’t brush his teeth or comb his hair or bathe himself. He can’t dress himself, or button his shirt. He has to depend upon other people to do that for him. He can’t take a walk. He can’t go from one place to another by his own power. But his handicaps did not rob him of graduating from high school, & finally earning a degree from Abilene Christian College. Max Lucado says that Robert Reed decided that he would study to be a missionary. So he taught a couple of years in a Junior College in St. Louis. And then took 5 trips to different missionary fields. Finally he settled in Lisbon, Portugal. Robert Reed found a hotel owner who would rent him a ground-floor room. He found a restaurant owner who would feed him after hours each day. He found a tutor who would teach him the language. And every day he wheeled out to the city park & passed out Christian literature to people who walked by. He spoke to them in his voice that sounded like a record player whose batteries are about to run down. He told them about the love of God through Jesus Christ. In 6 years Robert Reed won more than 70 people to Jesus. One of them was a young girl by the name of Rosa, who later became his wife. Lucado said, "I sat in an audience of thousands & watched as strong men grabbed his wheelchair, him sitting in it, & lifted him to the platform so that he could speak to this vast audience of people." "I watched him as he took his stiff fingers & tried to turn the pages of his Bible. And along with thousands of others, I wiped away tears of admiration. Here is one who could have complained, one who could have been bitter, one who could have asked `Why me?’ One who could have asked, `Why do bad things happen to God’s people?’" "But instead," he said, "Robert Reed read in his drawn out way the Words of God & gave his testimony. And when he came to the end of it, he lifted up his bent hand & arm & said, `I have everything I need.’" Lucado adds, "His shirts are held together with velcro. But his life is held together with the joy of God."

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