Hands down, one of my favorite stories in the Old Testament is the saga of Joseph, found at the end of Genesis.
And near the end of the story, Joseph reassures his brothers (who had betrayed him and sold him into slavery) that all is well. Joe’s perspective was clear: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50:20).
Joseph eventually looked beyond everything hellish in his life to believe that God had a purpose all along.
How about you? Maybe you feel forsaken and forgotten. Perhaps you feel imprisoned by the unfair acts of others. You might be in the middle of the worst days of your life so far, and you feel alone, confused, and angry.
May I ask you to reflect on five questions with me?
1. What if the hardest thing you’ve ever gone through could produce the best thing you’ve ever known?
2. What if you were stuck in a routine and a rut, but now something new has come to you in an unexpected and unforeseen way?
3. What if you were holding on to something unholy (or at least unhelpful), and now that thing is revealed for what it truly is in your life—an unnecessary distraction?
4. What if everything you thought you needed to survive has been exposed for what it is—weak and temporary (at best)? And what if what you truly need most has become more apparent to you than ever before?
5. What if your faith has been marginal and your commitment to God and His kingdom too weak? But what if the circumstance you’re going through now is helping you grow deeper as the trials are shaping your life into the character of Jesus?
We, humans, seek comfort. We almost always take the path of least resistance. We avoid hardship because we think it’s a curse.
Yet God, in His wisdom, is always far more concerned with our character than He is our comfort. (Read that line again, please.)
God has a purpose for you.
He has a plan for your life.
And destiny is rarely (never) found on the trouble-free path.
God is shaping you and wants to release a new level of creativity and holiness in you as He challenges you to think outside the comfortable box you’ve lived in for so long.
Someone once said, “God writes best on crooked lines.” Meaning, God is not intimated by the curves and challenges we face. He simply uses them to mold us into the image of His Son.
So maybe, just maybe, it’s time to stop complaining and start celebrating. Because God is up to something good in you and me.
3 We celebrate in seasons of suffering because we know
that when we suffer we develop endurance,
4 which shapes our characters.
When our characters are refined,
we learn what it means to hope and anticipate God’s goodness.
Romans 5:3-4 (VOICE)