By Patsy Clairmont, Excerpted from Nothing is Impossible. © 2010 by Women of Faith. Published by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

Some years ago my husband bought a super duper riding lawn mower. Les could hardly wait to try out his new toy, excuse me, his new equipment. He even bought a spiffy hat for his maiden voyage, so Les was looking good. He revved up the powerful motor, careened out the garage door, onto the grass, where he lowered the mower, shifted into high gear, and proceeded to barrel right through my flower bed.

That was not what Les meant to do. That was not what I wanted him to do. By the time Les lifted the mower and made his way out of the flowers my hydrangea bush looked like a handful of pickup sticks, my roses were potpourri, and my butterfly bush was not fit for a gnat. This was not purposeful pruning at its best.

Even so would you believe the following year those bushes came back with gusto. They were full of gorgeous blossoms. And the year after that they were show stoppers. Folks were actually stopping to take pictures of them.

It’s really a reminder that what others do accidentally or spitefully can be used to cause us to flourish. Doesn’t that remind you of Joseph from Genesis? If you remember his life looked like nothing but hardship and injustice. From sibling jealousy, to female revenge, to ingratitude, Joseph’s story looked like he had been mowed down and discarded. But God used it all as pruning to cause Joseph to grow into a wise leader.

None of us would volunteer for family rejection, slavery, imprisonment, or injustice. When Joseph was young and still full of innocent dreams he never imagined as the favored child of his father he would live such a rootless existence. But God grafted him into the Egyptian world for holy purposes of position and provision. Joseph after being cut down like a sapling grew to become an oak of righteousness. His management of the fruit of the fields flourished the people through a world famine.

We can observe growth in a petrie dish, a preschool, and a seniors vocational center. We were born to grow until our fruit falls to earth for the last time and we blossom into eternal life.

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