God at work
Joseph’s story is an inspiring one. It shows how God works through all the things we experience to accomplish something great in our lives. The enemy might weave trials and tears into the narrative but God will find every way to turn things to our good.
“God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.”
Joseph was almost killed by his own brothers and then was sold into slavery. Later he ended up in jail because he rejected the sexual advances of his master’s wife. Every time he did what was right, he was rewarded with injustice. He lived righteously but was counted among the unrighteous. He ended up languishing in jail for more than ten years for a crime he did not commit.
Up to that point in Joseph’s story, it might be tempting to wonder how a just and loving God could allow such things to happen to a good man, to marvel at how unfair life can sometimes be.
But then when we step back and look at Joseph’s life from God’s timeframe, we get an altogether different perspective. The view from Heaven is very different from the view from ground zero.
As his story progresses, we begin to see how the Lord was working to shape Joseph’s circumstances to serve a greater purpose – the salvation of a nation. Slowly, the wisdom of God begins to emerge from the tapestry of Joseph’s life, and we see His grace, His mercy, His unfailing love infusing everything. What the enemy had intended for evil, God turned into a blessing for both Joseph and his people.
As Romans 8:28 declares, “In all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Now, most of us will never spend years in jail like Joseph but the difficulties we face from time to time are still challenging enough for us. And when we are in the midst of the storm, it is often hard to make sense of what God is up to. We can only see things from a narrow perspective. We are focused on our immediate situation. We want relief. We need answers. We can get anxious. We can get bitter and angry. Or we can surrender all to God and trust Him, knowing He is at work in our lives building something beautiful and altogether lovely. Give Him space to work. Give Him time to finish His work. Trust His workmanship.
Despite all the things Joseph had to endure – the long years in prison, abandonment by his brothers and his friends – Joseph never lost hope in God. And God vindicated him and honoured him. As Joseph himself finally declares, “God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.”
Here’s my prayer for us all: “Lord, I know you are at work in my life. I don’t understand so many of the things that have happened to me but I know You are at work perfecting me, molding and fashioning Your plan and purpose in me. I know that sometimes You must pull down before You can build up, take away before You can give. I know that sometimes You must tear away old things to make place for new things. I know that You need to bend me and shape me to fit into Your purposes. It’s painful. It’s bewildering. It seems unending. But Lord I trust You. I will wait patiently for Your purpose to unfold in my life. Each step of the way, like Joseph, help me to walk in faithfulness and holiness before You. Lord, I yield under Your mighty hand. I know I am safe in those hands. So work away Lord, and don’t stop until I am all that You want me to be.”