Opportunities for Growth

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings
Exodus 1-3, Matthew 14:1-21


Now a new king came to power in Egypt who didn’t know Joseph. He said to his people, “The Israelite people are now larger in number and stronger than we are. 10 Come on, let’s be smart and deal with them. Otherwise, they will only grow in number. And if war breaks out, they will join our enemies, fight against us, and then escape from the land.”11 As a result, the Egyptians put foremen of forced work gangs over the Israelites to harass them with hard work. They had to build storage cities named Pithom and Rameses for Pharaoh. 12 But the more they were oppressed, the more they grew and spread, so much so that the Egyptians started to look at the Israelites with disgust and dread. 13 So the Egyptians enslaved the Israelites. 14 They made their lives miserable with hard labor, making mortar and bricks, doing field work, and by forcing them to do all kinds of other cruel work (Exodus 1:8-14, Common English Bible).

As I began thinking my way through this post one of the things that came to my mind was the first half of a verse from Psalm 23, “Even when I walk through the darkest valley,
I fear no danger because you are with me.”

We all go through difficult times in life. While we are walking through that dark valley, I think a pretty universal sentiment is, I need to hurry up and get out of here so things in my life can get back to normal.

The converse is also true. When we are going through those great times in life, through the mountain-top experiences, we want them to continue. It would be OK with us if they went on indefinitely, even forever.

The truth of the matter is, we won’t stay in the valley forever. Nor will we stay on the mountaintop forever. I have a theory. The longer we stay up on the mountain, the more likely God is to show up with a spiritual bulldozer to push us off of said mountain. Why? Because the mountain is not where the sheep are fed. It isn’t where growth takes place. The sheep graze on the flat places and down in the valleys. Those valleys, those hard times in life are opportunites for us to grow.

In today’s reading from Exodus we find this verse: “But the more they were oppressed, the more they grew and spread, so much so that the Egyptians started to look at the Israelites with disgust and dread (Exodus 1:12, CEB). The more they were oppressed… The more they walked through the valley, the more they grew. I realize this verse could be read literally and it is still true. But, I want to challenge us to read the verse with spiritual eyes. Read it, instead of a verse about Israel, read it as a verse about you.

Life can be hard for all of us. At times it is hard for all of us. And, of course, we really don’t want to walk the valleys. But, perhaps instead of dreading the valleys and trying to make our way quickly to the other side (something often beyond our ability to control), we should look at these difficulties as opportunities for growth. They are opportunities for God to chip away at our rough edges to become more of the person God wants us to be.

Have a great day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved


Published by drjkbroyles

I love Mike Ashcraft's book, "My One Word." For the past nine years I have participated and encouraged others to participate to in the "My One Word" Challenge. My first word was discipline was my word the first year. Since then my word has been focus, sight, jungle, peace, concentration, serve, genuine and this year is fit. I seek to be fit for my health, my family, my church, my ministries. I seek to be fit in any are of my life where God might point to me. I also have a nickname, "Dr. B." When I was a public high school teacher, Dr. B. is what most of my students called me, at least in my presence. I am still called that by many people though I no longer teach in public schools. I am the author of "Average Joe: With an Extraordinary Story" (available on Amazon). The book fits into the genre of "Biblical Fiction" or "Christian Fiction" and features some of the Bible's lesser known characters. The name of my blog is, "Fork in the Road." Life is filled with forks in the road. It isn't a matter of if we encounter a fork in the road, but when will we and how many will we experience in a lifetime. I love to strum my guitar. I am not a great guitar player but I enjoy it. I also enjoy writing music. I get excited with I feel a new song emerging. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog, "Bishop" in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 30 years as a United Methodist pastor, serving churches all over east and southeast Texas, from just north of Tyler to south of Houston, from the Gulf Coast to east of Madisonville. I currently serve Perritte Memorial UMC in Nacogdoches. I spent one year in the classroom, teaching High School government, economics, psychology, and sociology. Cindy and I have been married for 43 years. We have two grown sons and six grandchildren, three boys and three girls. I enjoy preaching and all it's aspects from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading. I have dabble in drawing and "painting" with pastels as well as woodworking and woodcarving. My current projects are two ukuleles. I collect, repair and restore guitars too. I play the guitar (badly, but I still do) I also enjoy working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, TX, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. This blog started out as devotional writings. In August of 2020, I made a major change to the blog, switching to a daily theme format. Sunday Sermon-usually my manuscript sermon Miscellaneous Monday-misc. writing, poetry, ministry Tuesday Thoughts-Devotion Wed. with Wesleys-hist. & theol. of early Methodists TED Talk Thursday-Video & appl. in current theology Five for Friday-5 things I've seen & my thoughts Sing-Along Sat. - Usually a new song I have written I write, "Strumming a G-Chord with Dr.B." to get my thoughts onto something permanent. After all, they say, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. Seeking the Genuine, Keith Lufkin, Texas August 2020

One thought on “Opportunities for Growth

  1. Right on! We are never promised that the Christian life is full of fairy bread and sing a longs lol, especially as we are just here for a little while and strangers. Your post reminded me of Philippians 4:4-7.

    Thanks for posting and for the reminder

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