Why The Struggle, God?

It’s really funny how God works in our life sometimes. I had this whole post written and scheduled to go live this morning, and something in my gut this morning said I needed to pull it and wait. So I did. No idea why, but the sense was very clear that I needed to wait.

So far I have been an observer of others facing more hardship than my family in the continued wake of this virus crisis. And as I reflected on this, several verses and a story came to mind. The story of Joseph in the Old Testament is a familiar one for many. If you haven’t read it in the Bible, you have probably seen some movie or play depicting it. You can find it in Genesis 37-50, but the part that I am drawn to is at the end.

See, Joseph found himself at the end of the story having just buried his father Jacob, and reunited with his fearful brothers. They were afraid that without their dad, whom Joseph loved greatly, to protect them that Joseph would take his vengeance for their betrayal so many years ago. But Joseph responds in a way that is so counter to what they expected, and how I’m sure many of us would be inclined to do.

“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.”

– Genesis 50:20

Joseph did something I think a lot of us struggle with. He didn’t get tunnel vision with the circumstances of his brother’s betrayal. He didn’t let his hardship negatively determine his mindset.

He kept his focus on the big picture.

See, being sold to slave traders by his brothers wasn’t the only tragedy he faced. Later while serving in Potiphar’s house, he was falsely accused of rape by his Master’s wife. Potiphar responds quickly to the situation and has Joseph stripped of his position and thrown in prison. And it was there he waited until coming into the service of Pharaoh some two years later.

Joseph understood there was more to the suffering he endured, than just to suffer. There was purpose in the hardship and persecution he faced, even if he couldn’t connect the dots in the moment. It went beyond being a catalyst for development of his own faith in God; it became the catalyst for God to use Joseph for His purpose and His glory.

Through Joseph and his suffering, the Israelites survived a famine. Because of his endurance in the face of trials, he was placed in the second most powerful position of Egypt, allowing him to not only have restoration with his family but also provide for his people in a great time of need.

God used what was meant for evil by man, for His good.

Joseph’s story embodies Paul’s words in Romans so well. Read what he wrote to the church in Rome.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

– Romans 8:28

See, there is no doubt Joseph loved God. Joseph trusted God. Regardless of what he was facing, he remained dedicated to God. Joseph had a purpose, and that was to be an instrument of God for His glory. He understood in a way I often struggle, the magnitude of the words James wrote thousands years later.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

– James 1:2-4

Joseph kept his eye on the prize. He wasn’t swayed by temptations, he didn’t neglect his gifts even though his circumstances were unfair. He persevered and remained faithful to God, trusting that in the end He was in control of it all.

I love Joseph’s story because it so pointedly reminds me of my struggle to keep the big picture in front. It’s easy for me to get tunnel vision when I’m faced with a difficult situation. If I’m not careful, my mind will race to a hundred “what-if” scenarios. I easily get wrapped up in the trial I’m facing, and can loose sight of God’s sovereignty in the midst of my chaos.

Joseph’s story reminds me that even when things are messy, God is still present with me because I am His child, and the end result will always be good not only for me, but for Him also.

He never leaves me or forsakes me, even when the circumstances around me seem hopeless. Is that something you believe? Do you believe that the messes in life you face, the hate and persecution from others you endure, that God can and will use it for His glory? That your suffering has a purpose?

See, if you love God and you are His child, He has a purpose for you. And that includes all of your story. Don’t get stuck on the present hardship, don’t let tunnel vision rob you of the truth that your Father is with you, and He will use the trials you face for good. That through them you will develop perseverance, and God will use you and your story to further His Kingdom.

Don’t let your trial convince you that nothing good can come from it. All that does is deny God’s power. It rejects the truth of His sovereignty and ability to redeem what is broken.

It rejects the accomplishment of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

The greatest tragedy to ever take place was Jesus facing a trial meant for me, condemned to death in my place. And yet, God planned it from the beginning of time for the sole purpose of redeeming me!

Jesus stayed focused on the big picture, God’s glory. Much like Joseph, He endured the evil that was against Him. And in the end, God used those moments of evil intent as a catalyst to make redemption a reality for us.

As we approach Easter, I encourage you to stay focused on God’s goodness. Remember that the hardships you face, the evil brought against you by others has a purpose in God’s hands. Joseph endured and was used by God to not only save his family, but his people as well. God raised him up through the trials and hardship he went through, to be an instrument of God’s grace to those who didn’t deserve it.

Jesus, after washing the Disciples feet and instituting the Last Super on Thursday night, looked ahead to the fulfillment of His earthly mission. Hours later He would be betrayed in the garden, and placed on trial rigged with false charges. Then, he would be condemned to die the next day in our place. I can’t help but read Joseph’s words again in light of what Jesus endured and accomplished in our place.

“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.”

– Genesis 50:20

Are you alive today? Have you been redeemed through the confession of your sin and acceptance of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice in your place? If not, make today your day.

As followers of Jesus, redeemed by His sacrifice, we can trust that in everything we face and endure God is working it for good. No matter how tragic the situation might be, how emotionally drained we might find ourself, God is present with us. Our needs will be met, and His purpose will be fulfilled. When we seek after Him in the midst of chaos, our faith develops. Enduring what is meant for evil against us is the catalyst for the development of perseverance, and being used by God to further His Kingdom for His glory.

We simply need to remain faithful and diligent in our pursuit of Him no matter what circumstances lie before us.

2 Comments on “Why The Struggle, God?

  1. I always told my children that God would give them either what they pray for, or something better. So, when the initial answer to our prayer is “no,” we can look forward to seeing what HIS plan is, because we know whatever it is, it’s going to be better than ours. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your style is really unique compared to other folks I have read stuff from. I appreciate you for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I will just bookmark this page.

    Like

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