“And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stripped Joseph out of his coat, his coat of many colors that was on him, and they took him, and cast him into a pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it” (Genesis 37:23-24).
Have you ever felt like Joseph must have felt on this occasion? Forsaken by those who loved you—having that which was precious to you taken away (his freedom and his coat)? Their original thought was to kill him, but eventually they chose to get rid of him by selling him to Ishmaelite traders. They thought they were through with Joseph, but God intervened.
Trials in life make us bitter or better. Problems can either be opportunities to strive to do the right thing, or they can be obstacles that cause us to shrink back and not do what we can to fix the problem.
A friend once called me with a personal problem. His words were, “I’m about at the end of my rope—I do not know where to turn.” He was down in the pits, but instead of withdrawing and giving up, he asked for help. He surrounded himself with resources (his friends) who could give him counsel and insight into how he could get out of the pits. Today he is much better because he allowed the “bumps” in his road to lift him up to a higher plane of living.
Joseph no longer had his family, but he had the greatest friend man ever had—his God (Romans 8:31). His days of despair were not over. He ended up in the pit (prison) again because he maintained his integrity and his accountability to God. “How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:9). Even in prison, God was watching over him and blessed him (Genesis 39:21-23). In the end, God made Joseph the second in command of the pagan nation of Egypt. Joseph was reunited with his people, and ultimately (providentially) his family became the nation of Israel that inherited the promised land.
God has promised us that He will not forsake us (Hebrews 13:5-6). Even when we must travel through the valley of death, He has promised to stay with us (Psalm 23:4).
May we look for the help He makes available to us, and may we strive to use the problems of life as stepping-stones to greater service and as opportunities to grow and to become better, stronger children of God. —Don Williams, The Lincoln Light, Huntsville, Alabama