If you have been a Christian for a while you already know that life is not always easy – despite the promise that the Lord will never leave or forsake us. It can be hard at times to make sense of it, not to mention the urge to walk away from it all sometimes.
All things must be viewed in context though, and when difficulties arise they are best viewed in the context of your life and destiny. Some destinies require vigorous testing and preparation before it can be fulfilled. Untested character can easily spoil God’s purpose with one’s life, as can be seen in the lives of several individuals recorded in the Bible.
One such example is king Saul, who was anointed to be the first king of Israel. We know little about his earlier history, except that he was “a choice and handsome” young man that stood head and shoulders above everybody else. (1 Samuel 9:2) He certainly had the looks, but that is not enough to make a good king. It didn’t take long for his character flaws to show up and, eventually, he lost his anointing and died in shame. He never fought a battle or accomplished anything before he became king.
David, his successor, received training early in his life as a shepherd who had to fight off bears and wolves that threatened his sheep. He also took the time to invest in his relationship with the Lord, he knew his covenant with God and and wrote many psalms to honour Him. Then Goliath showed up in his life, but because he was prepared he gained the victory over him. After Goliath he also had to contend with king Saul, jealous of his accomplishments and sought to kill him. In all of this David still respected him as king and refused to do him any harm. David’s character was ready to become the next king, and he became the greatest king Israel had to this day. One can only wonder where David would end up had he given up as he faced his troubles along the way.
The person of interest in this study is Joseph. It was revealed to him at an early age that he was destined to rise above his entire family, and that the Lord had special plans for him. When he told his family about his dreams, his brothers hated him and threw him in a pit. After that they sold him to some traders that passed by and he ended up on the slave block in Egypt. Life was not fair to him, and several times his dream seemed totally impossible. Then his owner’s wife seduced him, which he resisted, resulting in him being thrown into prison as an innocent man. Looking back we now see that his time in prison was not undue punishment, but preparation for his life’s purpose.
Joseph had to be tested and tried while he learned some tough lessons. We can say much about this man, how he handled the unfairness, the harsh treatment and the rejection by his family. It is often necessary to spend some time alone so that God can get through to us, and form us into the person that He wants to use. Don’t be discouraged or angry when friends turn their backs on you, when rumours are spread and those who were once close to you, avoid you. See it in the context of your life, as a necessary part of your preparation for what is to come, and retain your attitude of gentleness and fairness. This is also a good time to strengthen your relationship with the Lord and focus on the vision that He has given you.
He sent a man before them– Joseph–who was sold as a slave. They hurt his feet with fetters, he was laid in irons. Until the time that his word came to pass, the word of the Lord tested him. The king sent and released him, the ruler of the people let him go free. He made him lord of his house, and ruler of all his possessions, to bind his princes at his pleasure, and teach his elders wisdom. Psalm 105:17-22
God’s callings are without repentance; you are here for a reason. Don’t expect to reach your destiny prematurely – it is going to be rough before it gets easy.
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honour, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith–the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 2:6-9
We have a tendency to run away when trials come our way; we don’t like to be seen when we are fighting our wars. Nobody looks good in the heat of the battle! But to run away because you don’t look victorious, is just going to make it harder to win. Our battles are best fought in the public eye so that our faith can encourage others. It is in the heat of our battles that great testimonies are formed and courage is inspired in those that watch us.
Are you going through a rough time? Take heart, tough times don’t last! You are a step closer to your destiny. Every victory over your adversary means more strength of character; you are taking shape on the Potter’s wheel. Some vessels are more intricate and go through a more complicated process.
God bless you as you fight. His strength is yours, and if you don’t give up your victory is guaranteed.