Today we’re sharing an excerpt from Kelly Minter’s new study, Finding God Faithful. Order your copy or see a free sample today at LifeWay.com/FindingGodFaithful. We’ve also included some fun, free downloads at the end of this post to celebrate this new study!
We can get through just about any pain or suffering if we know the Lord is in it with us. But when we feel forsaken or abandoned, our pain becomes unbearable. In a most trying circumstance, the psalmist expressed what the Lord’s presence meant to him with the imagery, “Even when I go through the darkest valley, I fear no danger, for you are with me; your rod and your staff—they comfort me” (Ps. 23:4, emphasis mine). In Genesis 39, we’ll see the recurring phrase, “The LORD was with Joseph.” Joseph’s entire story rests on these five words. They will prove to be an anchor in turbulence and reconciliation in what seems irreconcilable. In the words of Beth Moore, “Where God does not grant our request, He will grant us His comfort. No small trade indeed. He is everything.”8 And He will be everything for Joseph.
Let’s read Genesis 39:1-6.
Now Joseph had been taken to Egypt. An Egyptian named Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh and the captain of the guards, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had brought him there. The LORD was with Joseph, and he became a successful man, serving in the household of his Egyptian master. When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the LORD made everything he did successful, Joseph found favor with his master and became his personal attendant. Potiphar also put him in charge of his household and placed all that he owned under his authority. From the time that he put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the LORD blessed the Egyptian’s house because of Joseph. The LORD’s blessing was on all that he owned, in his house and in his fields. He left all that he owned under Joseph’s authority; he did not concern himself with anything except the food he ate. Now Joseph was well-built and handsome.
And, now Genesis 15:13-14.
Then the LORD said to Abram, “Know this for certain: Your offspring will be resident aliens for four hundred years in a land that does not belong to them and will be enslaved and oppressed. However, I will judge the nation they serve, and afterward they will go out with many possessions.
Many years before Joseph’s descent into Egypt God foretold that the Israelites would be enslaved in a foreign land. We don’t know if Joseph was aware of this revelation, but it shows us that God’s hand was on Joseph’s steps even though his journey must have felt fully to the contrary. (Note: I’m not suggesting that the evil plan of the brothers or being sold into slavery were somehow good things because God’s plan was being worked out. We’ll later hear Joseph refer to his brothers’ actions as plainly evil.) The interplay between God’s sovereignty and human evil is a mystery for the ages, but I’m hoping you’ll see that what must have felt entirely out of God’s will for Joseph (arriving in Egypt) was actually part of God’s plan (Israel enslaved in Egypt for four hundred years).
In our western culture, we tend to think of God’s blessing and our suffering as mutually exclusive. We think of blessing as all the good things happening in the middle of all the good times. But in Joseph’s story we discover something that challenges our mind-set, even as believers: Certain blessings can only come in the midst of our suffering. In Egypt, Joseph was rising in power and position. He had found favor with his master, and his work was prospering. Still, all these blessings fell upon Joseph in a land far away from his family and in a culture that didn’t worship his God. The blessings were abounding in the midst of His suffering.
I remember a time when I was hurting so badly that I refused to receive the blessings the Lord was bringing me in that season. I wanted Him to give me what I wanted and wasn’t willing to “settle” for anything different. It wasn’t until I chose to accept His path for my healing and His way of blessing that I began to change. I didn’t get what I so desperately wanted, but all these years later I wouldn’t dare exchange the blessings He’s given me for what I once demanded of Him.
Are you refusing God’s blessings in the midst of your trial? Take some time to surrender your pain to the Lord. Tell Him you’re willing to receive His blessings even if they look different than what you’re hoping for. Thank Him for His presence with you, and ask Him to manifest that presence so that it brings you peace, comfort, and joy.
Take some time to process what you’ve learned, ask the Holy Spirit to teach His Word to you, and thank Him for His presence on the journey.
Want to learn more about this new study? Watch the short video below or view a free sample and teaching video clips at LifeWay.com/FindingGodFaithful.
And here are some fun wallpapers for your desktop and phone! Click the images or links below to download!