What happens when you are trying to do everything right, and you get broadsided with a tragedy, disappointment, or struggle? Aren't we promised an easy yoke? Shouldn't our work for the Lord keep us from suffering heartaches?
Well, let's see what lessons we can learn from Joseph's life that may shed light on some of these questions.
Joseph was Living Faithfully
Joseph was a good young man. He obeyed his father's commands. While studying this journey that Joseph's father sent him on, I discovered that Joseph walked over 100 miles in search of his brothers. Those are not the actions of a rebellious young man. Joseph was a good kid.
We have established that Joseph was of upstanding character. This was not a little errand. This was not a small responsibility like "take out the trash". As we progress through Genesis 37 we can see that Joseph learned that...
Life comes at you Fast
Joseph is trudging along, finally sees his brothers in the distance, is looking forward to a fire and some water and taking a rest and BAM! Within minutes he is in a pit with no explanation. And within a day he is tied behind a camel as the property of some slave traders. Not long after that he is sold again in a country that is foreign to him! You think you have it rough? Imagine being thrown in a van with a bag over your head, taking a long airplane ride with burly guards on each side of you and being dropped off in a place where you don't know the language and being made to understand that someone now owns you. Sounds like...
Life is not Fair
You can say about Joseph's life that "all's well that ends well". Technically you would be right. But, as Joseph looked up from the bottom of a pit, was trudging through the desert behind a camel on his way to Egypt, and was thrown into prison for a crime he did not commit, life sure didn't seem very fair.
Usually when we do something dumb and get in trouble for our actions we can at least associate our bad circumstance with our bad decision. What was Joseph supposed to blame? Dreams sent by God that he was just excited to share?! His "punishment" did not fit his "crime". As we skip forward in the story of Joseph, he finds out that...
Life does not Freeze
A valuable lesson for those of us that have gone through hard circumstances is this, "everyone else's life does not come to a stop just because we have had it rough." When Joseph looked down at his brothers from his throne, though he was now in a position of power and superiority, he looked down and saw older faces looking back at him. His brothers were affected by the passage of time. His father had grown old in his absence.
Joseph could have gotten bitter about the years of his life that he had lost. He could have punished his brothers for ripping away time he could have spent with his beloved father. Instead, he accepted that life did not freeze for others during his trials and that...
Life doesn't Follow your plans
I will simply say this, don't get so attached to your plans that you would never let God change them. If the Lord truly directs your steps, then let Him. Joseph seemed to understand this. He also understood that though you might be living in a sort of captivity of some kind...
Living for God is true Freedom
Understand that Joseph had as much freedom as he was given by God, not as much as his circumstance dictated. Circumstances don't dictate your freedom, your relationship with God does. What that means is that you do not have to be bound and crushed by the weight of situations and problems. You can rest in God's grace and peace. As the verse above states, He is not going to forget. Lincoln may be the Great Emancipator, but God is the Greatest Emancipator! Lastly, Joseph found that...
Life is not Final
What a joy when we realize that Joseph did not spend forever in Egypt! His bones, and his legacy made it out, Exodus 13:19 And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him:. And more importantly, Joseph is in Heaven right now! Does he have his head down like Eeyore because of how bad a few years of his life were? No!!!
Maybe you are in, or going into a circumstance that you don’t understand. Take these lessons from the life of Joseph to heart and emulate his attitude, or lack thereof:)