Judah said to his father, “Send the boy with me, and we will be on our way. Otherwise, we will all die of starvation—and not only we but you and our little ones. I personally guarantee his safety. You may hold me responsible if I don’t bring him back to you. Then let me bear the blame forever.
Relate: Earlier today there was a meeting in another room here at the church. This was a leadership meeting for a home in town dedicated to addiction recovery. Men who have hit rock bottom can come to this home where they will live in community with other men who are also at various stages of recovery. I could go on for hours talking about this home and the great things it has done for so many people. But that would be a rabbit hole. My point here is that each and every person in this leadership meeting was a victor over addiction. Each one of them has a checkered and spotted past. They had each hit rock bottom or something close to it before God brought them out.
Normally, people like this would believe that they have nothing to offer. Because of the sin and stain of their past, they aren’t worthy to be in leadership. They don’t have the education of theological training so many think is necessary to be used by God in a leadership role. But these leaders know better. They know that they are uniquely situated to help others overcome in the same way they did. Me? I’ve never smoked a cigarette in my life. I’ve never been drunk. I’ve never smoked pot. I’ve certainly never done anything harder. I’m a forty-three-year-old virgin. (Steve Carell’s got nothing on me.) I have plenty to offer, but each and every guy in that home could rightfully say to me, “You have no idea what I am going through.” They would be right.
Judah is a grieving parent. He had three boys but the first two died not long after getting hitched. I’ve lost siblings, close friends, and parents, but I can’t even begin to imagine the pain of outliving your own child. Judah knew that pain. So did Jacob. I think that is why Jacob only relented in sending his youngest, Benjamin, off to Egypt when Judah stepped in. The other brothers all tried to get dad to relent but he was having none of it. But when Judah personally guaranteed Benjamin’s safety, Jacob let him go. Jacob knew that Judah, of all his children, understood the pain of losing their child. Judah’s pain became his platform.
React: What is your pain? What hurt or suffering have you endured or caused yourself? Who do you know that might be experiencing similar or are going through now what you have already suffered? Who do you know who can benefit from your experience? How can you leverage your pain to benefit the world around you?
For those times in my past where I have caught hell, thank you for not letting me hold it. In those times where I have gone through hell, thank you for the grace to keep walking until I passed through the other side. Give me the wisdom and insight to know when and how I can turn my pain into a platform for sharing Your love with others suffering the same.
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To read previous devotionals taken from the January 21st The River Walk devotionals click below: