Friends and family, as I have walked through this confusing beginning to a new year these words spoken by Joseph have brought me much comfort. Hated by his brothers, sold into slavery, wrongly accused of rape, placed and forgotten in prison...yet, through all of that he trusted in God and God not only protected him but used him to do good in the lives of others. He saved an entire nation from famine! He did not let what seemed to be a dead end situation defeat him, but instead allowed God to work through that situation.
This past week has been one of mixed emotions. As cliche as that sounds it is absolutely true. I am grieved over the loss of my dear friend Lauren, yet when I think of how rich her life was I can't help but be filled with joy. I am angry when I think of how her life was taken, then yet again I am filled with joy when I think about how much Lauren laid down her life for others while she was here on this earth. The other day a friend reminded me not to think about the evil that has taken place. "Evil doesn't make sense," she said to me, " that's why it is evil."
So I keep coming back to the story of Joseph. It makes me want to laugh in the devil's face and say, "you meant evil for Lauren, but God will continue to use her life for good!" My life was changed long before her death, by her example of faith. And I'm happy to say that in one week, hundreds of people have given their lives to God because of Lauren's story. I don't believe Lauren had to die in order for this to happen. I simply believe in a God who is powerful enough to overcome tragedy and evil by his love and goodness.
I keep thinking of the saying that has come out of Lauren's death, "Live like Lauren." If we mean what we say when those words are spoken or used in a hashtag, etc we have to think seriously about the implications of those words. To live like Lauren means to live like Jesus. Lauren Bump was not simply a good person. She was a woman whose heart was completely in love with God. When Lauren was in my small group she was reading a book called "Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World" and it impacted her walk deeply. Mary, who chose to sit at the feet of Jesus before she did anything else. How appropriate for my sweet friend who is probably doing the same thing right now.
I've said it before, but our lives are important, my friends. What we do with our lives is important. Choose to sit at the feet of Jesus. Choose to overcome evil with good. Choose to live like Lauren. Choose Christ.