3 Lessons That Empower Perseverance
When reading Joseph’s story, it is important to reflect on what provided him with the perseverance to press into the painful parts of his journey. In studying the passages of Joseph’s life, I cannot help but be reminded that this story, as with all of Scripture, points to the power and promises of God. Thus, by learning to look for God's role in our stories, we will be able to view our problems and pain in a whole new way.
God Is Present in Our Problems
The first lesson in Joseph’s story is seen in God’s continual presence. In Genesis 39, at the onset of Joseph’s enslavement in Egypt, God’s presence is mentioned verse after verse.
“The Lord was with Joseph, and he became a successful man, and he was in the house of his Egyptian master. His master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord caused all that he did to succeed in his hands...the Lord blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake; the blessing of the Lord was on all that he had, in house and field” (Genesis 39:2-3; 5).
God’s presence did not change Joseph's circumstance, but rather empowered Joseph to remain patient and faithful within the present problem. Though separated from his family, wrongfully accused of indecency, and forced into slavery, Joseph was sustained by God’s presence.
We see this theme continue to follow Joseph into his imprisonment, where it states, “But the Lord was with Joseph and showed Him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison” (Genesis 39:21).
Throughout the Old and New Testament, God's presence is given to man as a promise of God's steadfastness in hard times.
David writes in Psalm 23,
"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me."
Isaiah 43:2 Also reminds us of this assurance saying,
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”
Finally, we see God's presence manifest in Jesus, our Immanuel, meaning, “God with us.” It is this same presence that Christ speaks of in John 16:33 saying, "I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
Whatever the problem we face, may we look to God’s presence for the strength to persevere and the peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:6-7).
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