The last few months have been particularly intense for my circle of friends and family, both in the church, on our street, and for that matter, in our nation. It's tempting to not read newspapers or listen to the news on tv/radio anymore. Why? They’re filled with articles of people that have run out of options. It's like we are all recording the same mix tape. It's a pretty hopeless playlist of stories and situations called: Out of Options.

Like the college student who is beginning her junior year, but she still hasn't declared a major or determined at all what kind of job field will be open to her in the future but already has $30,000 in debt. The thought of soon having to pay for her utilities, car payment, rent, and health insurance on her own with a minimum wage job gives her anxiety. And her parents.

Like the couple who has made it work for the past 25 years even though their marriage has been anything but glamorous. Now, the kids are out of the house and the latest round of disagreements is beginning to stack up discontentment upon disapproval, and frustration is taking over. The idea that things will ever improve seems impossible, and everyone of their peers seems to have found other friends who don't argue so much. It's getting too lonely to bear.

Like the woman who lost her husband to cancer this year. It wasn't sudden, or unexpected, but the grief has been too much to bear. She has come to the realization that she doesn't know how to do some the basic things in life, because for the last 45 years her husband has always done them for her. She has never pumped her own gas, she's good at managing the finances, but can't seem to make a decision on new purchases. So she pays too much for things. Her car is on the fritz and she is uncomfortable negotiating a price for a new one. This is too much to deal with right now.

Like the family who has a particularly difficult child. He has all the potential in the world, is well liked by his peers, and it appears to everyone that he is going to do great things. Yet, when you look closer he is insecure, angry, and afraid of something or someone. Depression grips him, and the family is on pins and needles waiting for the next shoe to drop. Counseling doesn't seem to help, medication just makes him more miserable, and no one can seem to tell his parents what the long term prognosis will be. Somethings gotta give.

So what do you do when you are out of options? We all face problems so looming and so large that only God can solve them. Luckily, we aren't the only people to run out of options. The Bible is full of them. Specifically, at Randall Church over the past weeks, we studied the life of Joseph in Genesis 37-50, and we saw a young man forced to rely on God in desperate circumstances. And along the way, we learned how we can also access the power of God for the life crises we face.

You see, the enemy uses idea that we are out of options to make it seem like there is only one choice before us, and we have to take it. The enemy is the great deceiver, and he makes it look like the only thing we can do is take on more debt, more pain, more discouragement, more anxiety and more loss. Yet, the reality is that we belong to a Heavenly Father who loves His children and is always there. Throughout the life of Joseph, we read the words again and again "...and the Lord was with Joseph."

The Lord was with Joseph when he was given the colorful coat.
The Lord was with Joseph when he was thrown in to the pit.
The Lord was with Joseph when he was sold as a slave by his brothers.
The Lord was with Joseph when he was promoted to head of household.
The Lord was with Joseph when he was falsely accused of rape.
The Lord was with Joseph when he was forgotten about and left in prison.
The Lord was with Joseph when he was raised up as second in command.
The Lord was with Joseph when he was forced to face his brothers.
The Lord was with Joseph when he was going to bury his beloved father.
The Lord was with Joseph when he was forgiving his brothers.
The Lord was with Joseph when he was passing the baton to his sons.

You are not out of options. You are not alone. You can face the day!

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9