There are times when we are happy in our lot in life and yet there will come challenges that takes us from there to a rock-bottom experience – seemingly out of nowhere!
This is what happened to me recently. I am contented with all that God has blessed me with in life and if God takes me home today, I will go to Him contented, joyful and happy.
I have begun serving the Lord again – giving Him more of my time and effort and thoughts and spirit last year and this year than all the years when I got married and had kids.
I thought in my heart that I will give more joy and glory to God. In this, I did sow an expectation in my heart also that I would be blessed – or at least spared of troubles in my life.
Towards the end of last year, on December, I was served with a Letter of Authority (LOA) from BIR. Two of them, in fact – back-to-back. It was a LOA for 2020-2021 and 2021-2022.
If you are unfamiliar with what a LOA is, I will summarize it for you: Here in the Philippines. it is a businessman’s worst nightmare from the government.
Then challenges from my children and my marriage seemed to loom larger than before. There were many times this year that I have been discouraged to serve and I honestly felt like I am completely unable and unworthy to serve and teach – either in my small group or on stage in a retreat.
I felt weak and my spirit felt turbulent. And yet the Lord used me still to minister to others. I would not even dare to think that it is because of my gifts – rather, I completely believe that it is God’s mercy and grace in my life.
Today I was listening to the Bible in One Year App (It is an AMAZING app that was recommended to me by Michael Ramsden in our one-on-one talk). And the story of Joseph the dreamer came up.
He was already doing smashingly well as the one in charge of Potiphar’s (One of Egypt’s highest ranking officials) household. I can imagine that he could do whatever he want in the day and eat whatever he want as well – so long as he did the work he was required to do and delegated effectively. (*Read Genesis 39*)
“The Lord was with Joseph so that he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. 3 When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, 4 Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned. 5 From the time he put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the Lord blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph. The blessing of the Lord was on everything Potiphar had, both in the house and in the field. 6 So Potiphar left everything he had in Joseph’s care; with Joseph in charge, he did not concern himself with anything except the food he ate.” – Genesis 39:2-6
Here we can see that Joseph had it really good. Yes he worked hard for it, but he was also blessed by the Lord. Very much so!
You would think, as the reader, that life must be very good for Joseph and he could settle like this for the rest of his life! He must have even temporarily forgotten the troubles that his brothers gave him when they sold him as a slave. He must have felt, in other words, on top of the world at this point in his life.
And yet, as the story goes on, he was framed by his master’s wife and he was thrown into prison!
“Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined.” – Genesis 39:20
Talk about rock-bottom! He was paid such a harsh consequence for his faithfulness to his master and to God!
Joseph fled from temptation because of His fear of the Lord and his loyalty to his master, Potiphar. He did well. In fact, he did what perhaps most men are unable do! He fled from an assumedly beautiful woman’s aggressive and seductive advances!
How could a good God allow such a consequence to a faithful and loyal man?
We could only see and realize that it was all part of God’s great plan when, after years in prison (serving as a prison slave), he was called by Pharaoh to a test that only God could pass.
After which, he was elevated to a position to literally save the known world during that time. He was second to the most powerful person at that point in history.
I realize that in my life, I have the tendency to whine, question and feel injustice in my heart towards how the Lord allows seemingly unfair challenges, trials and bad things to happen in my life while I commit even more to serving Him in ministry.
Some things I do deserve – because of my own sins and decisions.
Some things I am completely taken surprised about – life’s curveballs that God allows our way.
Joseph’s story is a good reminder to me today. That it may take years of faithfulness and loyalty to the Lord. But God is in charge and is weaving my story for something great. Something that can only be accomplished if I surrender my life to Him completely. Something that only God can accomplish in my life to bless so many people.
Lord, help me to have complete faith in you in the good times and the bad times. To remember that bad things can happen to good people that you love and who are faithful to you – not because of anything but because you have purposed great things to come out of these trials.