Bible Verse: “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)
Holding on to your faith during challenging times can be very difficult when you can’t see clearly what the road ahead may hold. Your dreams, hopes, and aspirations may seem unattainable because of the various barriers you face. Your health, finances, relationships, or other circumstances may seem insurmountable to achieving your goals. But hold on to your faith you must.
Joseph was a person who had a very long wait before his dream was fulfilled. He had to go through many years of trials and discouragements before seeing the fulfillment of God’s plans for him. I’m sure he didn’t expect it to take nearly as long as it did. He suffered rejection and betrayal several times along the way, but he still believed in God’s plan for his life. Even at a young age, Joseph was able to see past his current difficulties and know that God was going to do something great in his life. He knew deep in his heart that he had his heavenly Father’s love and approval.
Joseph’s success story seems unlikely from the outset. Born to Jacob in his old age, and sold into slavery in his youth by his older brothers, it must have felt like assault on his feeling of importance, especially after the dreams he’d had. He went from being a person of high status to low status in the blink of an eye. However, Joseph’s faith pulled him through all the hardships he faced, including his stint as a wrongfully convicted prisoner. He knew that God would still make his dream come to pass.
This is where many of us fail. We see the challenges ahead and begin to focus on all the problems that continue to plague us. Instead of moving forward, we seem to move backward, making no progress at all. We take one step forward only to take two steps back. We begin to believe the lies of the enemy that we don’t have a call from God, that we’re worthless and there’s nothing God can do. But that’s not true, it’s a lie.
God wants us to know that even in the midst of hardship, we are in the centre of His will. When the circumstances are tough, God is still in it with us. The Holy Spirit is still inside us and God is going to make His plans come to pass. We often have lessons to learn from these circumstances, because we are still growing as we journey, and God wants to teach us those things that help to build our character. We must take our eyes off our problems and look to Jesus. We need to settle in our hearts that God’s dream will come to pass no matter how dark our situation is. However difficult the present situation may seem, God is still with us.
Even when Joseph was sold into slavery and found himself at one of the lowest points in his life, it was God’s grace that we see in action. Here was God stepping right into the midst of his hardships. Even though Joseph was going through the most difficult time of his life up to this point, God reminded him that he had a seed of greatness inside, and he knew that God was on his side.
As the years passed and Joseph slowly climbed out of the pit of slavery, another ominous event clouded his future. A false accusation against him caused him to fall back to the bottom as a prisoner. He was thrown into jail because Potiphar’s wife falsely accused him trying to assault her. Once again finding himself in the darkest of straits, Joseph chose not to be bitter. Instead, he held on even more tightly to the promises God had given him, and did not let this hardship shake his faith.
Even in the most difficult situations that Joseph went through, God was preparing him to be the man He wanted him to become. So we, too, can be sure that no matter what the circumstances, challenges, or difficulties that we face may be, we can be sure that God is with us and has a plan for us. “For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11.
Never let go of the faith and hope we have in God, through Jesus Christ. He created us and He will sustain us. Praise be to God Most High.
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In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.