19 But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? 20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.
The most difficult yet comforting thing to accept is that God is in control. Though our lives can seem disorganized and off path, we know that our detours are God’s straight lines. The life of Joseph is a perfect example of how a seemingly random string of unfortunate events brought Joseph to exactly the place God wanted him to be. He was sold into slavery by his brothers at a young age, and though this was difficult, God gave him favor in the eyes of his captor and he rose to prominence. In this position he was falsely accused of rape by an evil woman…. Though he did no wrong he was put in prison… again this was a horrible situation to be in, but God provided him favor in the eyes of the guards and he was given responsibility in handling all the affairs of the prison. Till one day, two men came into the prison and he correctly interpreted their dreams and asked them to remember him before the king so he could be released…. It was two years later before it was brought to the king’s attention, but soon after that Joseph was promoted to become the second most powerful man on the earth and was able to prevent a great famine from destroying Egypt and also save his family from starvation. Yet, I have no doubt that in those moments of darkness in jail Joseph must have wondered what the purpose was in all of this. He was a righteous man who was faithful and yet he kept getting the raw end of every deal for most of his adolescence. His plan for his own life probably was to live a quiet life as a shepherd and worship God with his family… God’s plan was different and though the path to glory was through pain I know that Joseph doesn’t regret any of it now.
Faith is tested in the prison of trial and character is what comes out of it if we surrender to God. Many of us give into bitterness and anger, but the ones who yield to spirit are made new and able to be used to do great things through the Lord. Most of us won’t ever rise to a position where we will be remembered in any history book… But there is a greatness to be attained through daily consistency that comes by depending on the spirit of God. Ultimately we must know that God doesn’t need us though he does love us… and his love is greater and more meaningful because of the fact that he has no need for us. He loves us not for who we are but because of whom he is and if we understand that we can break free of the need to be “significant”. Joseph lived a faithful life and he humbled himself and was exalted… It doesn’t matter what position you are in, whether you are a business leader, a student or a mom trying to keep her sanity raising kids… God has you were you are for a reason and that reason is to depend on him and yield your heart to his. Once you realize the God we serve is significant and he loves us you don’t have to try to be great. Now you still have to faithful with the time God gives you and make the most out of the opportunities he puts in front of you… But I have found that God has given me plenty of opportunities and maybe instead being angry because I don’t have more I need to be faithful with what he has given me.
Having a thankful heart, even in pain, is a great blessing and though circumstances often don’t change quickly… a surrendered heart to God can give you great perspective which will make the pain less relevant. Trial, difficulty, sorrow and pain will always be with us in this life, but if we are Christians we will also have joy, peace, patience and hope… I have found that the last four of these traits mean very little unless you have experienced the first four. So in our trials we can trust God will bring us a greater joy than we could imagine had we not suffered. I don’t know what many of you are going through and I don’t imagine that this simple explanation of God’s providence is going to radically change your life. It isn’t a good lesson or a sermon that makes a difference… it is only a surrendered heart. I cannot teach you how to do this as it is something I don’t fully understand this. all I can say is keep praying for it and in time he will answer. And who knows, maybe the very point of your trials is so God can accomplish the saving of many lives both here and in eternity… So please don’t lose heart or give up… just yield and surrender yourself to God
About the Author: I am a Birmingham attorney who has been in private practice for over six years. I have a general practice, so I get the opportunity to help serve people who find themselves in some very difficult circumstances. My e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope it encourages you. I always love getting thoughtful comments, so please email those to me. My website is www.reidlawalabama.com. If you know anyone who is going through a difficult situation whether it be legal or personal and they are in Birmingham area you can e-mail me at email@example.com. Our firm works with some excellent faith based counselors, many of whom are free or low cost. A lot of the times the legal issues people face are due to deeper underlying issues like substance abuse and other things. I have found the most effective form of treatment is getting a personally qualified counselor who helps get to the root of the issues someone is dealing with, and we will help people get connected for free (we never take a payment for referral fee for this). Again my website is www.reidlawalabama.com, which contains my contact information. God Bless.