But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive (Genesis 50:20).
When facing a severe trial of long duration, it’s important to keep perspective. Joseph spent many years bearing the repercussions of his brother’s misdeeds. Though he spent years of suffering shame and mockery in prison, the end result for Joseph was blessing, honor, and favor. Tests and difficulties are part of living on a fallen planet. Our faith in God’s Word will navigate us through every test if we’ll let it! Satan attacks us, sometimes using others, sometimes using circumstances, and at other times using our own mistakes to ridicule and seek to discourage us.
But we must face each difficulty knowing that we are conquerors! God has destined us to win! We are victors! We can’t be defeated if we refuse to lie down and quit! The promises of God are YES and AMEN in every circumstance. He will never leave us or forsake us! If God be for us, who can be against us!
If we keep the right perspective, tests will only bring out the best in us. Tests will cause the dross to rise to the surface. Tempered steel is the strongest because the heat drew out the impurities that weakened it. Notice what Peter said: That the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:7).
Years ago, I found myself in the middle of one of the most difficult periods of my life. Nothing was going the way I thought it would. It seemed as though I would fail. At times, death seemed appealing as a sweet escape. Really, it was a very hard place. But the Holy Spirit kept reminding me of the promises of God when I wanted to just quit. He wouldn’t let me! Day after day, week after week, month after month, this particular test droned on.
At my lowest points, I found my God to be faithful. Knowing what He planned for me, the Father just would not let quit in the middle of my journey. He urged me to act on His Word and keep on going. He sees the end from the beginning. Sometimes we allow the pain of present circumstance to cloud the vision of where we’re headed.
Now looking back, I can see that some of the greatest things God did in me were a result of the pressure I went through. Character changes occurred in me as the pressure squeezed flaws to the surface of my life and forced me to face them. The enemy sought to destroy me through circumstance, but God turned it all around and used it for my good. Joseph was able to lead Egypt out of a dark period because of the work of preparation during the testing years.
See your present circumstance, not as a stumbling block, but as a stepping stone into God’s greater purposes for you. If you’ll do this in every test and trial, God will turn what was meant by the enemy as evil into opportunity to help you grow! For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us (Romans 8:18). Keep your chin up today!