He was a handsome young man. He was in prison. He was falsely accused that is why he was in the prison but the Lord, the creator and the Master of heaven and earth was with him. The jailor was happy with him; he had no worries about this prisoner. The jailor made him the supervisor over the prisoners. This young man fulfilled his responsibilities very well.
A few years back the same young man, Joseph, was in danger of his life. His brothers tried to kill him because they were jealous. But they were not able to do so because God was with him. So they sold him to some Ishmaelite traders. In this way he entered into slavery. These traders sold him into the hands of a rich, powerful and influential man. Joseph began to serve in the house of this rich man. Potipher was the name of this rich man. Potipher trusted his slave, Joseph, to such an extent that he made him the manager of his household. Then Joseph was falsely accused by the lady of the house and sent to prison. But the Lord was with him there. God allowed Joseph to go through all these trials and sufferings.
Christians can learn many lessons from this incident. (Christian means that man or woman who has accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as his /her personal Savior and believes that his/ her sins are forgiven entirely due to the death of Christ on the cross. The Christian has confessed that he/she was a sinner and, through the substitutionary death of Christ, has received the forgiveness of sins and now he/she is the child of God).
Let us then look carefully at the lessons which we can learn from the life of Joseph as he went through these trials and sufferings.
God allows His people to go through “hot water”.
Often times when people of God pass through “hot water” (difficulties, opposition, jealousy and enmity) they become very much depressed and anxious. Their level of courage goes down. They start complaining to God. There are some people that get annoyed with God to such an extent they start cursing Him. All the doors of hope seem closed to them; everywhere they see dark and deep clouds of despair. Hopelessness follows them all the time. They are constantly under great stress and tension. Their difficulties stand before them like huge mountains. The boat of life seems to be sinking. The sun does not rise. The night is prolonged. All hope withers. There is nobody to listen to their sufferings. The individual goes deep down into the muddy swamp of despair.
God allows negative circumstances to work in the life of a believer, in order to make his life beautiful. The trial and suffering is a means to prune the believer; allowing him to go through a fiery fire makes him as purified gold. But God does not leave his people alone in the furnace of these adverse circumstances. God almighty watches over His people and God himself stays with them through the circumstances.
A man once had a dream. He was walking on the shore of a sea. The beautiful rays of the sun fell on the surface of the water. The sun’s rays created a very beautiful effect. He could see his foot prints on the sand. After some time Jesus came along and the man could see there were the foot prints of two people. They walked very joyfully. Then this man began to suffer from some health issues. As he walked he could see only one set of foot prints. After a while he recovers from that health problem and he could again see the foot prints of two people because Jesus had entered the scene again. The man complains to the Lord Jesus Christ, “Lord, when I was happy and healthy you were with me, we walked together. But as I went through the difficult situation you left me alone; all I could see was only one set of foot prints.”
Jesus responded with great patience, “The foot prints which you thought were yours were, in truth, Mine. When you were sick and suffering and you were not in your right mind, I picked you up and carried you.”
Do you have such response, in the past... or today? Do you ask, “Oh Lord where are you? You have left me alone. I am alone facing this pain.”
This is the response of the Lord for you, “I have picked you up and carried you in my arms.” The Lord Jesus Christ is always with His people. He never leaves us nor forsakes us. He stays with us in difficult circumstances and does not forget us. God allows such situations; He allows His people to go through such circumstances, and He stays with them.
The Lord keeps His people in difficulties and informs them for the future.
Joseph passed through various phases in his life. He was a prisoner in jail but God did not forsake him. God was with him. The Spirit of God was with him. God was rightly guiding him about future circumstances and times. So Joseph was able to guide others about their future times.
Whatever Joseph told the cup bearer and butler about their dreams was right. The cup bearer was restored to his duty and the butler received the death sentence. Then a time came when Joseph was presented before the king to interpret the king’s dream. Joseph informed the king accurately about all the difficult years which were coming on Egypt in the future. At last the king was compelled to say to Joseph, “You must find the solution for this issue and do some planning.” The king made Joseph ruler over Egypt and he fulfilled his duty with great responsibility.
I know about a person who was very seriously sick. It was thought that this would be his last night in this world. From the human standpoint there was no hope. Even that sick person was ready to say goodbye to this world. But the same night God told him that he would not die with this sickness. That person was admitted in a hospital for ten days then he was discharged from the hospital and came home. For the next six months he rested in bed and then he was healed. Now almost twelve years have passed and he is still serving the Lord.
Even today, God informs his people about future events and circumstances. In the same manner the trouble which was supposed to come in Egypt did come. Joseph was divinely informed beforehand. Due to his wisdom and good planning the country was spared from that danger and crisis.
In the midst of a crisis the Divine Presence beautifies our character.
The difficulties or the crisis are a furnace. When we pass through it all the dirt, filth and unholiness from our life and character is removed. Difficulties teach us the lesson to walk very carefully. Difficulties bring us closer to God; they develop patience in our lives and character. Difficulties are not problems or hardships but they are blessings. They make our faith stronger and provide us with the opportunity to think and contemplate. These difficulties help us to understand the hardships of others in a better manner. Difficulties are a training school for us, they are a gift from God. They make us mentally strong and mature. Without difficulties joy loses its value and importance. All mankind goes through difficulties. In difficulties we can know the deep secrets of God. Difficulties help us to move forward and produce stability in our character and temperament. Difficulties wipe away stagnation. Difficulties are the gift of God and beautify our character. Difficulties are the maid of mankind which works for his betterment. The only and holy God does not allow difficulties that are more than we can bear. In times of difficulty God continuously watches over us and prevents these difficulties from being greater than our strength.
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it (1Corinthians 10:13 KJV).
God stays close to His people in difficulties; He never leaves them alone.
Hardships bring us very close to God. In everyday life, a common person is always busy in his own circumstances. He forgets everything else in the activities of life, business, office, education, family and kinship, and so forth. He is so busy in these things that he does not see anything apart from them. Even God disappears from his dictionary.
Then a time comes in the life of this person, who has totally forgotten and ignored God, that he becomes the prey of severe difficulties and hardships. All the worldly relationships and friendships disappear; he is totally alone. He carries a lot of burden in his heart. His back is broken with the pressures of anxiety and hardship. There is no one to hold his hand. There is no one who can comfort him or console him. Is there any one who can say few words of comfort to him? Who will say, “I will stand with you?” Who will say, “Do not be anxious?” Who will say to him, “Cast all your cares upon Me because I care for you?” Is there any person who will say to him, be strong, and be courageous? No, there is no hope, no comfort.
This person has only one hope, the One who has the breath of man in His hands. God is his only hope. God has extreme love for the soul of man. With the same love He sacrificed His life for this man on the cross. Now this person draws closer to God almighty. He bends his knees to the ground and prays to God, an ocean of tears comes from his eyes. Now he seriously and sincerely desires that God should come close to him and he should come close to God.
In fact, such tribulations and trials, crises and difficulties, are our teachers. They direct us in the way we should go! From whom shall we ask help? These problems take us in the right direction and rightly determine our destination. When you go through difficulties, do you run from God... or do you run toward God in difficult times?
Consider the following questions as you asses yourself:
What is your view with regard to the Divine Presence?
Do you think that God is only with you in the spring season?
Do you think that the presence of God goes away in the seasons of autumn and winter?
Dear reader! Where do you stand? Think about yourself impartially. Make a precise, clear and transparent analysis about yourself so that you will be refreshed and filled with the Divine Presence and so you may enjoy His presence. Breathe in His presence and live for Him.
May the Lord richly bless you.