The Key to Enduring Hardship
When Joseph's brothers saw that their
father was dead, they said, “It may be that
Joseph will hate us and pay us back for all
the evil that we did to him.” So they sent
a message to Joseph, saying, “Your father
gave this command before he died: ‘Say
to Joseph, “Please forgive the transgression
of your brothers and their sin, because they
did evil to you.”’ And now, please forgive the
transgression of the servants of the God of
your father.” Joseph wept when they spoke
to him. His brothers also came and fell
down before him and said, “Behold, we are
your servants.” But Joseph said to them,
“Do not fear, for am I in the place of God?
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. So do not fear; I will provide
for you and your little ones.” Thus he
comforted them and spoke kindly to them.
God has given us many promises in His Word. Yet, though we are assured of His steadfast love (Rom. 8:38-39), provision (2 Corinthians 9:8), and guidance (Prov. 16:9), He has not promised us an easy, trouble-free life. What we can count on, however, is that the Lord will work everything—including adversity—for our good (Rom. 8:28).
Long before Paul wrote this word of encouragement to the church at Rome, Joseph learned the same principle by experiencing its truth. His affirmation of it, however, came several years after his unfair suffering had ended. In the midst of his difficulties, it’s doubtful that he understood what God was doing in his life.
The same is true for us. When our hearts and minds are agitated because of turbulent events, it’s hard not to stare at circumstances in horror or confusion. But we must decide to believe what the Bible says about God’s character, activity, and purposes. That choice forces our attention off the storm and onto the One responsible for ushering us safely through.
In His presence, fears dwindle and doubts dissolve; peace and a sense of oneness with the Lord will take their place. Our responsibility is to keep our eyes on God and trust His Holy Spirit to provide strength, wisdom, and courage.
Turning to the Lord will not necessarily bring an end to the hardship, but He will help us see that we are exactly where He wants us. He has a reason for the discomfort and desires that we grow in Christ through it. Whatever the situation, the safest place in the world is the center of His will.