Many think Joseph in the OT had it tough. But I’d like to suggest that actually he was in training. Let me explain…
Joseph’s brothers wanted to kill him. They threw him into a pit as they planned their deed. Then they decided to sell him into slavery to the Midianites. The Midianites sold him to a man named Potipher who was a prison warden in Egypt. Potipher’s wife falsely accused him of adultery. As a result, Potipher put him in the dungeon of the prison. Then Joseph made a friend of Pharaoh’s who promised to help him… but he didn’t… for two years. But eventually Jospeh was elevated to “Vice-Pharaoh” after interpreting a dream for Pharaoh.
For Joseph, It took 13 years for all those things to occur. 13 years of suffering. 13 years of hardship. 13 years of being mistreated. 13 years of wondering what was going on. 13 years of wondering why God was allowing all those things to happen. 13 years of being away from his family. 13 years of questions without answers. 13 years of silence. 13 years of faithfully continuing to serve God even though life wasn’t making sense.
At any point along the way, Joseph could have abandonded God… but he didn’t. He could have become bitter… but he didn’t. He could have lashed out at those around him… but he didn’t. He could have taken his own life… but he didn’t. Instead he continued to serve God faithfully, patinetly, year after year after year after year. Even though he was in the fire.
Then one day it all made sense to him. In talking to his brothers in Genesis 50:19-21 it is recorded, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? 20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. 21 So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.”
Joseph realized that all the things that happened to him were in reality God training him for what his ultimate purpose would be! He realized his life wasn’t being messed up by all those events… they were getting him ready. They were moving him to where he needed to be to fulfill God’s purpose for his life. Had those things not happened, we would not be saved because the Hebrew people (From who Jesus the Messiah came) would have died of starvation!
Where are you? Are you in a pit? In slavery? In Potipher’s house? In a dungeon? Do you think people have forgotten you?
Remember this, you are in training. You are not yet where… nor are you what… God desires for you. Process every event of life through a Biblical perspective. God really does have a plan for every one of His children that is for good. Trust Him… not the world, not your friends, not even your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6).
You are in training!