This morning I listened to the age-old stories of Job & Joseph, two men who faced incredible odds in Scripture & came out like gold on the other side.
Both Joseph & Job experienced great loss in their lives: The loss of dear family, broken relationships with the people closest to them, physical suffering, rejection, silence from God, and (what appears to be) many years of testing.
But you know what happened after their tests?
God LAVISHED love on them from all sides – financial & career success, positions of high honor, respect from the very people who’d rejected them, restored health & relationships – in short, the very things that had been stripped away from them in the hard places of their lives.
I wonder if God allows such people and even us – those He intends to use for His purposes – to experience such hardship, rejection & loss because it’s paving the way for our future assignment?
Scripture tells story after story of God using such “stepping stones” in people’s lives to lead them to their destinies. No, this process doesn’t always end in earthly fame & fortune, but when He prepares us for His purposes, it is in our best interest that He strip us of our dependence on things we’d otherwise cling to in the future. This is how He strengthens us – by removing that in our lives which makes us weak.
Our trials help us loosen our grip on worldly matters so we can shift our eyes to His priorities… to the point where once He restores what we’ve lost, we no longer lean on it like we once did.
This is when we know He’s done a true work in our lives.
In Joseph’s case, he was known among his brothers as a braggart, a dreamer, & a young man full of pride! This is NOT the type of character that would’ve served him (or others) well in his God-ordained future role: Egypt’s second-in-command when a terrible famine hit the earth.
And in Job’s case, God allowed testing to prove a huge lesson to Satan himself – that there existed a man on earth who would remain faithful to Him despite being stripped of all his worldly gains (including his health). I can’t imagine the joy in heaven when Job passed this test & proved such a powerful lesson to the enemy.
After Job’s very long & arduous journey, God restored what he’d lost TWO-FOLD. Our God is so good! He doubly-blessed Job for honoring Him in his suffering.
In a beautiful gesture of kindness, God also gave Joseph the glory & honor he’d sought for years among his brothers, but nearly half a lifetime later after he’d given up hope of ever receiving such respect from them. And even beyond that, God used Joseph to save the very LIVES of his family & of all God’s people. Talk about restoration!
These stories are amazing. They teach us invaluable lessons about how trials & challenges shape our lives. God uses them to chisel His character in us & to open the path before us to greater things.
We may never know the exact reasoning behind the “stuff” we’re facing right now, but I’m reminded of a certain Scripture that reassures me today:
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
Yes, all things – even the loss of children, our health, love, our reputation, wealth. Every hard experience in our lives is being worked out for our good. He has a benefit in every wilderness passageway we travel and in every heartbreak, even the ones that seem beyond redemption. Actually, especially those.
I am so comforted by this. It makes me wanna look beyond every hurdle I face to the glory, the goodness, the lesson, the blessing it will bring into my life. I know it’s there cuz He said so.
And so it is with you!