Dear friend, if God gifts you, or if he graces you – then He intends to try you. Being “tried by the Word” is something that has lately been mulling over in my mind. So when I received a devotional that spoke about this, I knew I should write about it here. When we remember the story of Joseph in the Old Testament, we see how much hardship he endured. Poor Joseph was up to his neck in adversity! We learn the details of this “swan in the ducks nest” in the Bible…
“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.” 2 Timothy 3;16
So I think I should say this again – wherever God gives extraordinary gifts, and appoints an extraordinary calling – He also appoints an unusual trial. None of us are born ready for our life-work, in which God has called us. But before we are placed in our life’s roll, we have to be brought down to the end of ourselves and there cannot be as so much of a hint of self-centered pride or self-exaltation. You must be prepared for that which awaits you. It’s the favor of the Lord, but do not look for the happiness of ease, enjoyment, and human approval, for “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation(or testing): for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him (James 1: 12).” Please don’t misunderstand me… there is adversity/suffering as a result of sin, but I’m not talking about that. I’m referring to the adversity/suffering designed or allowed by God to build your character, and there’s no easy way to attain good character; only through tribulation.
“Then he sent someone to Egypt ahead of them— Joseph, who was sold as a slave.
They bruised his feet with fetters and placed his neck in an iron collar.
Until the time came to fulfill his dreams, the LORD tested Joseph’s character.
Then Pharaoh sent for him and set him free; the ruler of the nation opened his prison door.
Joseph was put in charge of all the king’s household; he became ruler over all the king’s possessions.
He could instruct the king’s aides as he pleased and teach the king’s advisers.” Psalm 105: 17-22
When he was put in prison and his feet were made fast with fetters, the Bible says he was so exceedingly troubled… that iron surrounded his soul. We need to take a moment and realize that this is not just a story, but it’s a story teaching us of a broken man – a deeply wounded man. Think of the many fond memories of his Father and his pampered childhood that suddenly spiraled out of control! Imagine how you and I feel when we lose things that we hold dear to us Think of poor Joseph repeatedly rehearsing in his mind, how the acts of his cruel brothers set his whole heartbreaking journey into motion. I know that you know how painful it is to have the same bad, terrifying movie playing over and over in your mind. Can you see why iron surrounded his soul? He lost everything. The word of the Lord tried him very severely. Alone, in darkness, in an uncomfortable cell, his limbs fretted with chains, no one to speak to him. He didn’t understand why any of this was happening! So it is with you and I, and here’s the thing… you may be going through the biggest trial of your life now, if so, I want to give you hope… there’s always a reason for hope. Maybe you’ll have to do some soul searching to find that hope, but I know He’s waiting there with arms wide open.
So much more to say about this, so stay tuned…
related posts – Modern-Day Joseph
“Who is this one? Look at her now. She arises from her Desert of Difficulty Clinging to her Beloved.” Songs 8:5