We live in a world where trials and tribulations are part of our lives. At some point, we all have gone through seasons where our hearts were broken and we were crushed in spirit. As much as hardships constitute our life, we all know they do not last forever. Generally, our days of mourning are nothing compared to our days of laughter. But, what if you experience trials and tribulations more than others do? What if you notice an usual pattern in your life? How do you deal with repeated heartbreaks, betrayal, pain or disappointment in your life? Do you ever ask yourself what you did wrong to deserve such? Before you start wondering why you are where you are today or why you went through some of the most difficult seasons in your life, I ask you to complete reading this article.
Well today, we are going to learn how to live purposefully in good and bad times. And our lessons come from a man who went through one of the most difficult seasons in life- Joseph!
Joseph’s life started well. He was the most loved child in the family. Then through a series of dreams, God revealed how He was going to be a man of authority – with his family bowing down to him. Then all of a sudden things changed for the worse. Jealousy crept in and it pushed his brothers’ to sell him into slavery. In the blink of an eye, his life transformed from being the most loved child who received special favors, to being a slave where he worked for nothing. What a tragedy!
Joseph worked as a slave for many years. Even though he did not deserve to be one, he chose to faithfully serve his master (Potiphar). This led to his master recognizing his attitude and integrity. His reputation birthed his promotion to becoming the overseer in Potiphar’s house. At this point, he must have thought his breakthrough had finally come. God started blessing Potiphar through him. And all seemed well for a while It was evident that God was blessing everything he touched. Even though he was away from his family, his life was a living testimony that God was with him and He was giving him favor.
That good life did not last for too long. Potiphar’s wife lusted over him and made advances so he could lie with her. Joseph chose to do the right thing and he refused to give in to the sexual advances. This was not an easy temptation to overcome. But he overcame. As noble as his act was, it did not grant him any special recognition/promotion. At the moment when he probably expected to be honored for being a man of integrity, he was surprisingly slapped with a false accusation.
I can not even imagine the pain that he went through. He had been faithfully served his master but when the allegations were brought to him, he neither chose to defend Joseph nor give him the benefit of doubt. He was put in jail for doing what was right.
On the other hand, the master’s wife succeeded in making his life a living hell. According to the scriptures, this woman had been making advances to Joseph for a while and there is no record that Joseph told his master about his wife’s behavior(Gen 39:10). Joseph was a good man. Most likely, he did not tell his master about the sexual advances for the benefit of their marriage and to preserve the master’s wife integrity. The same woman she respected and protected failed to respect him. She chose to make him suffer even though she knew how much of a good man he was. I am still to come across any evidence that reveals that after Joseph was sent to prison, she finally confessed her sin. Scriptures tell us that for years Joseph was stuck in prison over false accusations. And she probably continued living a luxurious life as if nothing happened.
Joseph’s life went downhill again but he still chose not to compromise his integrity. He did not quit on maintaining his best behavior. While in prison, he lived well with other prisoners. He was very caring. When he saw that they were not well, he asked what was wrong with them. This is the man who had suffered so much from mistreatment of others. It should have come naturally for him to stop caring for people due to multiple disappointments. Naturally, it should have been easy for him to live an isolated life- minding his own business. But he chose not to give up on letting others in. He chose to love and care. And so when he learned that they were troubled by their dreams, he helped them with dream interpretation, thereby helping them prepare for their future. This was the help that eventually opened doors for him to become the Prime Minister. But that did not come easy. After receiving his help, the chief butler who had gladly promised to remember him when he got out, forgot all about him. Later in when Pharaoh needed a dream interpreter that’s the chief butler finally mentioned Joseph to Pharaoh. (Gen 41:1)
Sometime later, when Joseph finally rose into power as the governor, he could have easily shunned people out. His track record was full of betrayal experiences. But he did not let his past affect him negatively. He likely took every experience as a learning curve and mastered his lessons from every season of his life. He did not seize being good.
When he became rich, he chose to become a blessing to others. And he saved all the Israelites by inviting them to Egypt where there was enough food. When he was reunited with his brothers, he chose to forgive them when it was easy to revenge and make them suffer. Joseph never moved away from God through the valleys and storms in his life.
Maybe you have been experiencing tragedy after tragedy. Maybe you continuously rise and fall. Maybe you wonder if the pattern/cycle will ever change in your life. Maybe you question, “Why Me?” Always remember, God sees it all. His eye sees in the dark as much as it sees in the right. His hand is neither too long nor too short. So there is never a day when He will fail to honor His promise. He has promised that He will never leave you nor forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6. He is God who honors those who Honor Him. 1Samuel 2:30. One day all your troubles will be over and you will be seated in a place of honor. One ordinary day you will wake up as a slave (in your own way) and be elevated to a Prime Minister (in your own way). Continue walking in integrity and you’ll never go wrong!