But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you. Matthew 5:44 KJV
Age has its advantages. (Not that I’m exactly enjoying getting older.) And I’m learning a lot. For instance, I used to question “why” a lot more than I do now. Why did this bad thing happen? Why is life such a trial? Why doesn’t God do something about this? Why doesn’t God just “zap” that person?
In hindsight, I can look back now at so many struggles I have experienced in life and see how God used it for my good and His glory. He has a purpose and plan for everything and just because we don’t understand it doesn’t mean the plan isn’t being carried out perfectly.
Joseph learned how to deal with mistreatment through experiences he endured. His own brothers sold him as a slave. Then he was sold to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh and a captain of the guard. When Potiphar recognized that Joseph had the favor of God on him, Joseph rose in status in that household, until Potiphar’s wife lied about him and he ended up in prison. Perhaps it was because of that time in captivity and in prison, when he had a lot of alone time with God, that Joseph learned true dependence upon the God of his fathers.
Through a series of events, Joseph ended up second in command in Egypt. He was able to save his own father and brothers, and many others during a time of famine because of that position. After the death of his father, Joseph’s brothers expected him to finally take revenge upon them for selling him into slavery. But Joseph was merciful and gracious to them.
Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. Now therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.” And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them. Genesis 50:19-21 NKJV
Joseph learned to leave the judgement up to God. He could see, looking back over his life, how God had orchestrated everything to save many people. Perhaps the things we are going through are not going to save the physical lives of many people, but we could possibly influence people to trust in the Lord, thus saving them spiritually.
Through the inhabiting of the Holy Spirit, God has equipped us with spiritual eyesight. So I wonder this: if we could use our spiritual eyesight to the fullest extent to see how God is using our trials to lead others to Himself, would we grumble less?
Some trials we experience could possibly be the consequences of sin. If that is so, we ought to repent quickly. However, when we are striving to live as closely to the Lord as possible and people mistreat us or speak harshly against us, may we have the mindset of Joseph. May we stay faithful and receive the favor of God. May we allow God to lead us and use us wherever we are and whatever position we are in. May we be able to say of every situation, “but God meant it for good.”
Heavenly Father, It’s so easy to get my feelings hurt by the words or actions of someone else. Please forgive me for wanting to rush in to judge or speak harsh words in return. Help me Lord, to stay faithful to You in every positive and negative circumstance. Please use each situation in my life to point others to receive salvation that comes only from You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.