Thursday, January 14, 2016

The Opportunity in Trials

Joseph had one misadventure after another. Just when he'd climbed out of one precarious situation, another came his way. It began to look as if he'd never find a place of peace and security.  

You probably remember Joseph. He was the favorite son of his father, Israel. Joseph was always a dreamer of dreams. In his dreams, he had authority and power. Others bowed down to him. It was exciting stuff, and Joseph expected to have the future he dreamed about. 

When he was still a boy, he made the mistake of telling his brothers about his dreams. They didn't find them quite as exciting as Joseph did. I might be wrong about this, but I've always thought the brothers believed Joseph's dreams would come true, and it made them jealous and angry. 

Their father favored Joseph over his brothers and, it appeared, God did, too.

Their anger birthed a decision born of opportunity. You know the story. The brothers threw Joseph in a pit, then sold him to traveling traders (who, by the way, were selling the Balm of Gilead). In no time, Joseph was a slave in Potiphar's house. 

He was Potiphar's property. 

Being sold as a slave is a tragedy, but in the midst of tragedy, Joseph's character was revealed. 

That's what trials and tribulations do... They strip away our pretense and reveal what's inside. James 1:2 says we should "count it all joy" when we encounter trials. The root word for trials means "piercings". I believe the trials we encounter are designed to serve as "piercings" that reveal what's on the inside. 

The piercings of trials remove our facade and reveal the core of who we are.

The amazing part of this story is that what appeared to be an opportunity for the brothers to rid themselves of their trial (the irritating little brother) became an opportunity for Joseph to reveal his character. 

The brothers wasted their trial. Joseph seized his. 

He faced his trial with the same steadfast work ethic he'd demonstrated when tracking down his brothers for his father. 

Joseph responded to tragedy the way we all should. He was faithful to do the right thing, regardless of his circumstances. He didn't waste time being angry or bitter. He didn't whine or complain. 

Joseph did the job set before him with all his might, despite the circumstances, and we should, too.

There's no avoiding the trials of life, but they don't have to be wasted. Both Joseph and his brothers faced trials and revealed their true character, and we will, too.

When trials come, and they will, let's do what Joseph did. Let's use them to become the men and women God intended us to be.

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In case you missed one of this week's posts, here are the links:  The Blessing JarThe Potential for HeritageDoes God Know When I Will Die? Part 1Does God Know When I Will Die? Part 2How to Live LongerIs Longer Life Worth the Cost of Obedience?, and The Changing of Our Culture: Physician Assisted Suicide.

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