Joseph said, “But think on me when it shall be Well with thee, and shew kindness, I pray thee, unto Me, and make mention of me unto Pharaoh, and Bring me out of this house. Yet did not the chief Butler remember Joseph, but forgot him.” Genesis 40:9, 23 (KJV)
Joseph certainly had adversity: He was slandered and sold into slavery by his own brothers; hauled off to Egypt; falsely accused by Potipher’s wife; thrown into prison despite his innocence; and forgotten by the chief butler after doing him a great favor!
However, the Scripture speaks of Joseph’s great blessings: the Lord was with Joseph; his Egyptian master saw the Lord was with Joseph. Even when Joseph was a slave in a strange land, God blessed him. The jailer left the management of the prison to Joseph, because the Lord was with Joseph.
In the midst of our problems as Christians, God is with us in a very special way. People need to detect in us during our sorrow that God is with us, protecting us, and ministering to us. There is no greater testimony we could have that that. Remember that adversity allows God to be glorified for others to see, (that is, if our attitude is correct).
There are multitudes of persons in the Bible that had bad problems, but used those problems to glorify God! So many: Shadrach, Meshech & Abednigo; Able; Daniel; Job; John (on Patmos); Paul; Silas; Abraham; and a host of others.
God uses our difficulties to demonstrate His mighty power! Problems seem to always provide us with greater opportunities. With the right spirit and attitude, every problem can make you a better person. With the wrong attitude, every problem will make you a bitter person.
Adversity and problems promote spiritual maturity. They’ll make you better if you refuse to let them make you bitter. The pressures and stress of living often precede the power for living that God can provide us. Adversity proves our integrity. Circumstances don’t make you what you are, they reveal what you are!
We learn a lot about people when they’re under pressure. You hear some people say: “I was doing alright until this situation came along.” No, that adversity most likely revealed what was on the inside.
Reputation is what others suppose us to be. Character is what we really are. Reputation is what man thinks we are. Character is what God Knows we are. Reputation is what they chisel on a tombstone about you. Character is what the angels say about you at the throne of God.
It is in our brokenness that we are revealed to be what we actually are. The blessings of God are not evident by the lessening of trouble and adversity, but the blessings come from the lessons received from them. Problems and adversity prepare our hearts for true ministry to others.
Dr. David Sparks is senior pastor of Flat Rock Pentecostal Holiness Church.