A Time to Suffer
Yesterday's devotion noted that Joseph suffered 13 years before he was pulled from adversity. God could have fixed that mess more quickly or, better yet, prevented Joseph from enduring it at all. But can you imagine a 17-year-old boy skipping into Egypt and sitting down at Pharaoh's right hand? Certainly the Lord's power could make such an unlikely event happen. But would a slightly arrogant, ignorant Hebrew teenager make a good leader? Not until God made him into one.
Our suffering lasts only as long as necessary for God to accomplish His purpose. He is interested in equipping servants and molding followers rather than in providing carefree lives. Yet the Father deeply loves His children—that's why He shares in their hurts and limits the hardship so it doesn't extend one moment beyond its usefulness.
Adversity is God's sharpest and strongest tool for re-forming believers to Christ's image, but He will not force change. The Lord molds His children in proportion to their willingness to be shaped for divinely appointed work. We can refuse to submit to His craftsmanship, but rebellion only prolongs the pain. The wise approach is to say, "God, I do not understand why You have allowed this hardship, but I am willing to follow You through it."
The faithful child of God emerges from trials prepared and equipped to serve God. This is the believer who values obedience and prioritizes prayer and Bible study long before adversity comes. When the going gets tough, he knows that the Holy Spirit's power is sufficient to carry him through.
For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please visit www.intouch.org.
If you like Dr. Charles Stanley's radio program, TV broadcast and books, then you'll love his free, award-winning monthly magazine. It's full of informative resources that will touch your heart and invigorate your faith. Every month, In Touch magazine brings readers daily devotionals from Dr. Stanley, in-depth Bible studies, inspiring articles and insightful teaching to help strengthen your family and your relationship with God. Click below to start your free subscription to In Touch magazine.
Used with permission from In Touch Ministries, Inc. © 2009 All Rights Reserved.