Avenues of Adversity
I have a list in my head of people I want to talk to when I get to Heaven. Joseph is in the top 3. I think about his story a lot. God tells him one thing and then the story goes in the opposite direction.
I wonder what emotions he experienced…
as he sat in a pit waiting to die…
when his brothers sold him into slavery…
when Potiphar’s wife falsely accused him of rape…
when he was in prison for years.
Did his questions ever cease?
Where there moments of panic?
Did he ever yell out at God in frustration?
Did he doubt himself?
Was he lonely?
Did he think he was crazy?
Did he cry?
Want to give up?
Did he sink into moments of despair?
Did he waver in his faith?
Did he go through a season of bitterness?
Did he weep from the disappointment when days in his prison cell turned into months and eventually years?
Joseph’s story in Genesis is very factual with few details regarding his emotions. Why?
Perhaps leaving out the emotions allows us to fill in the blanks with our own experiences. Maybe the details are missing because it didn’t matter if Joseph’s faith faltered. What mattered was that he served a faithful God who would fulfill His promise even when things seemed the exact opposite of what they should be. What mattered was that each avenue of adversity was necessary to mold Joseph into the man who would save God’s people. The avenue that would lead him through a pit and a prison would eventually pave the way to the dream.
I recently read Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts by Jerry Bridges. Perhaps Mr. Bridges’ words apply to us as well as to Joseph:
But God cannot be frustrated. He will carry on to completion that which He has begun.”
He goes on to say…
God does not delight in our sufferings. He brings only that which is necessary, but he does not shrink from that which will help us grow.”
What would happen if we realized that every point of frustration, every agonizing moment, every disappointment, every adversity is necessary? Not one is a mishap; not one escapes God’s attention. Every one is perfectly planned to make us into the image of Christ. Every lesson is designed & tailored specifically for us, and it is executed at the proper time and with perfect proportions!
What amazing detail!
What exquisite skill!
Our God is, indeed, a wonderful & brilliant teacher.
Help us, Father, to endure the pounding of the anvil. Help us to submit to the shears as you prune. Remind us when we grow weary of the lesson that it is warranted and worth every bit of the pain or it would not have passed through your Sovereign fingers.