It seems that at one time or another, we all get discouraged. We will be just sailing through life rather smoothly and then we hit a rather turbulent wave. During these times, we need to cling to the Lord to get us through the current storm, but it is sometimes easier said than done.
To live a life that is totally committed to the Lord, no matter what our circumstances, takes giving those circumstances over to the Lord daily. And still, we are often faced with discouragement.
This discouragement often comes when we feel that we have been truly trusting in the Lord, when we have truly been living for Him, when we have truly been obedient to Him… but still certain things in our life just look so dismal and it seems that no matter what we do or how much we turn to God, we just don’t see how God is working in our life.
When I am discouraged, I pray and I ask the Lord to just speak to me, to just let me know that I can have hope again. The most recent time I prayed, the Lord brought His servant, Joseph, to mind. If there is one person in the Bible who could have just ‘thrown in the towel, I think it would be Joseph.
Joseph loved the Lord and he too had a desire to obey and honor the Lord in everything. Here is a boy who was hated so much by his brothers that they planned to kill him but instead sold him into slavery. So, here is Joseph, still a young man with a heart for God and he is on his way to Egypt… a foreign land where pagan gods are worshipped.
I have often thought about what must have been going through Joseph’s mind. I am sure that he was talking to the Lord… “Lord, I just don’t understand. You gave me a vision that I would rule over my family. I thought that You had a great plan for me. I have loved you and I have obeyed you but it has just gotten me hated by my brothers and sold into slavery. Lord, I just don’t understand… please give me hope and help me to go on.”
Once Joseph got to Egypt, he was sold to Potiphar who was a high ranking Egyptian official. Joseph was a hard worker and the Lord blessed Potiphar and his household because of Joseph… but then tragedy struck… again. Joseph was falsely accused of making advances towards Potiphar’s wife. This faithful and innocent young man was put in prison for a crime that he didn’t even commit. Again, I wonder what Joseph’s prayer must have been… “Lord, I have been a faithful and obedient servant to You. I have served You as I have served my master and you have blessed us both. Lord, I have trusted in you but now, I am in prison for a crime that I didn’t commit. Lord, it is so hard to be faithful when I don’t see how any good can come of this. Lord, I just don’t understand… please give me hope and help me to go on.”
While in prison, Joseph continued to be faithful to the Lord and to trust in him. The Lord again blessed Joseph during his time there, and then came an opportunity that he must have thought would give him his freedom…he interpreted the dreams of two of his fellow inmates; one was the Pharaoh’s cupbearer who would be restored to his former position. Joseph asked this man if he would remember him once he had his freedom and to ask Pharaoh to also free him. I am sure that day after day and week after week, Joseph waited for that promise to be kept, but alas it was finally evident that he had once again been forgotten. I am sure that Joseph was once again discouraged as he was living for the Lord but just couldn’t seem to ‘catch a break’.
Finally, a day came when Joseph was called before Pharaoh to interpret a dream that none of Pharaoh’s advisors knew the meaning of. Joseph, as always, trusted in the Lord and was obedient. But this time, things were a bit different. Instead of being put back in prison, Joseph became Pharaoh’s ‘right hand man’ and became a very powerful ruler in Egypt. It had taken many years, but Joseph finally saw what God’s plan had been.
During all of that time, Joseph was in some pretty bad situations. He continued to trust in the Lord even when I know he must have been discouraged because his future looked so bleak. Joseph stayed true to the Lord in his service and obedience to Him.
I often wonder if I could have the kind of faith that Joseph had. Even when he must have felt so alone and maybe that the God had forgotten about him, he still persevered and kept his faith strong.
Oh Lord, help me to be more like Joseph. Lord, when I am faced with discouragement and hardship, let me continue to seek Your face and seek Your will. Lord, when I just don’t see how a situation can give you the honor and glory, let me not question but just let me only trust. Lord, help me to not dwell on my present circumstances but help me to know that all is well because You are holding me in the palm of Your hand.