When we hit situations and circumstances which we find somewhat difficult and at times almost impossible to handle, it can be hard to embrace the truth and significance of the above verse. Often only with hindsight are we able to see that the experience, which if given the choice we would not have gone anywhere near, was indeed part of God`s plan and purpose for us.
Perhaps, nowhere in Scripture is this better illustrated than in the experiences of Joseph. Despised, rejected and abandoned by his family, falsely accused and imprisoned by his employer, forgotten by others and yet throughout all this we read `and the Lord was with Joseph`. Finally at the end of the story when Joseph, as ruler in Egypt under Pharaoh, reveals himself to his brothers and forgives them for how they had treated him declares `But don`t be upset, and don`t be angry with yourselves for selling me to this place. It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives` (Genesis 45:5).
There are many other notable examples of those whose faith was severely tested, in some cases almost to the point of death. Paul, for instance, gives a whole catalogue of his experiences which must have tested his faith (2 Corinthians 11:16-33) and yet he is able to say elsewhere `We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed and broken` (2 Corinthians 4:8).
Jesus didn`t promise us an easy road- just the opposite in fact (Matthew 24:9 -12) but He did promise never to leave us. In these days He is looking for those whose faith is strong enough to enable them to face the `lions` as Daniel did and to walk through the `fiery furnace` like Shadrach and his friends. How`s your faith today?
Let`s take heart from the words we read in 1 Peter 1:6-7. `So be truly glad! There is wonderful joy ahead, even though it is necessary for you to endure many trials for a while. These trials are only to test your faith, to show that it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold - and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold. So if your faith remains strong after being tried by fiery trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honour on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.`
Prayer: Dear Lord, In the midst of the storms and difficulties of life help me not to lose sight of You and to hold on more tightly to You. Help me to allow these circumstances to deepen my relationship with You and to increase my faith. Amen.
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