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February 23, 2009

A Present Good

Often, when we think of Joseph’s situation in Egypt where he was “shut up in faith” to God, we pray to be more like him. We love reading the account of his steadfast spirit and unwavering hope. But when we drift out on to stormy seas, we cry, “Lord, take away this pain and pressure. It is too much.”

Though he may have wondered why God rewarded his faithfulness with separation and sorrow, Joseph did not waiver in his faith. His circumstances may have seemed dismal, depressing, and no more than a dead end, but they were so much more than this. God knew the raw potential that was contained in Joseph’s life, but so did Satan. And he was determined to wear Joseph down to a point where he would no longer desire to do God’s will.

Joseph, however, did not buckle. He was tried by the enemy and did not yield to any thought or notion other than remaining faithful to God. We never read where he tried to escape or to launch a prison revolt. Nor did he sulk in his loneliness or become bitter at those who had hurt him. He waited for God’s deliverance—engulfed by an unshakeable sense of hope. Up to the point where he was sold into captivity, no one realized the depth of Joseph’s character. It wasn’t until the trials began that his faith in God became evident.

On the night that the original LeTourneau Hall caught fire and burned, Dr. Forrest was preaching a revival in Roanoke, Virginia. The title of his sermon was “I will trust and not be afraid.” Later after receiving this devastating news, he went to his hotel room and got on his knees before the Lord. “My first reaction was, ‘Look here, old man, you’d better begin to practice what you preach.’” He had spend the week telling others about the faithfulness of God. Now, it was his turn to “spread the matter before the Lord” in prayer and trust Him. In Achieving The Impossible with God, he said, “I did not have the least idea, humanly speaking, how we would get the money to rebuild, but I knew God knew.”

Can you say the same thing? “I don’t know how this situation will turn out, but I know the Lord does.” Years later after Joseph and his brothers were reunited, he told them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in God’s place? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about his present result” (Genesis 50:19-20). The Lord is at work in times of trial, and He will always bring a “present” good as a result of your faithfulness.

Written for the online devotional A Present Peace © 2009