Occasionally, I come across a sermon by a popular preacher teaching that the Bible promises God's followers a life free from misfortune. Well, I'm not sure what Bible they're reading because my Bible doesn't say that.
The truth is we live in a sinful world. And as I flip through the Bible or look at history, I see that it's often the most faithful who face the roughest challenges in life.
Joseph is a perfect example. He was rock-solid in his faith. When he caught his brothers doing something they shouldn't, he told his father (Genesis 37:2). When he was pressured by Potiphar's wife to be immoral, he ran the other way — and landed in prison as a result. And although he remained in prison for at least two years, the Bible is clear that Joseph never stopped serving God.
So, why did he endure such misery? Joseph knew exactly why. After their father died, Joseph's brothers approached him, afraid the brother they once sold into slavery would seek vengeance. But Joseph answered them:
"Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today" (Genesis 50:19-20).
What I learn from Joseph is that a person of faith won't necessarily escape hardship, but they will have the proper perspective on hardship. Long before Paul wrote to the Romans, Joseph understood that "for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28).We live in a sinful world among sinful people trying to achieve sinful goals. But God's plans will win the day, and those faithful to Him rejoice in anticipation of it. While this world may have been a lot better if sin had never entered it, it's comforting to know that God always has the last word.
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There's an Arabian proverb that says, "Four things do not come back: the spent arrow, the spoken word, time passed and the neglected opportunity."
Years ago, a man walked the earth and revealed a life so unique it became the central point in human history.