Through the Storm

So Joseph's master took him and put him into the jail, the place where the King's prisoners were confined... But the Lord was with Joseph ~Genesis 39:20-21

Joseph had been having a pretty rough time of things. His brothers were jealous of him, had thrown him down a well, threatened to murder him, and ultimately sold him into slavery. As a slave he had done everything right and, just when things seemed to be going pretty well, he was falsely accused by his master's wife and thrown into the dungeon where he was left for several years. Yet, through all of this suffering and injustice, we are told that God was with Joseph. 

There are times in our lives when things just don't seem to be going according to our plan. In fact they are going horribly wrong. Perhaps we lost a job, had a spouse leave us, are dealing with the death of a loved one, facing our own mortality, or have simply ended up in a place in life where we just don't want to be. It is easy and natural for us during the difficult times and seasons of our lives to question God's plan for us and to wonder if He is even here. 

There are many today that profess to preach the Word of God - well-dressed individuals with their shiny suits and their shiny smiles - that will tell you that God wants only the best for you here in this life and that if you are really on God's "good list" then you will be blessed by God with perfect health and with all the material wealth you need and want. If you don't have good health and lot's of extra spending cash then you must not be right with God. These false prophets lead millions of people away from God as they prey on the innocent by convincing them that they can buy their way into God's favor and gain wealth for themselves in the process.

The lure of health and wealth in this life is certainly powerful but it is not what the Word of God promises. God tells us that this life will be hard, that we will go through difficult times. He even promises that the closer we get to Him and the more obedient we become, the more difficult this life will be as He goes through the process of molding us into the individual masterpieces that He created us to be. God does not promise to save us out of life's difficulties and trials but rather He promises something much greater. He promises that He will be with us through them and that it is through these trails that we become more and more conformed to the likeness of Christ - suffering for righteousness sake just as He suffered for us.

Joseph was highly favored by God and was ultimately used by God to save an entire nation and to bring another nation, the nation of Israel, into existence. During his trails of being beaten, rejected and betrayed by his brothers, sold into slavery, falsely accused, and wrongfully imprisoned Joseph still trusted God and knew that God was with him. He didn't know how God would use these trying times and I am sure that Joseph had many moments of doubt and dejection through those years. Yet through it all God was preparing Joseph for something that he couldn't comprehend at the time. Ruling an entire nation.
Those years in prison helped to mold Joseph into the man that God needed him to be in order to rule the nation of Egypt and see Egypt through a famine that would have destroyed it apart from God's intervention. God sees each of our lives with an eternal perspective and while it can sometimes be very difficult for us to understand the trials and difficult circumstances in our lives, God knows exactly what we are going through and asks us to trust Him and rely on His strength to carry us through any difficulty.

Are you going through a painful or difficult time right now? Is there some aspect of your life where you feel you just need to cry out to God? Remember that while God does sometimes calm the storms of our lives, other times He calms us through the storm. Either way He is always there with us and is always working out His plans and His purposes toward His ultimate and eternal goal. What a blessed promise it is to be a part of that!

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  ~Romans 8:28

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