By Pastor Anthony L. Scott
Horace Bushnell once said, “Never think you could do something if only you had a different lot or sphere assigned to you. What you call hindrances, obstacles, discouragements are probably God’s opportunities.” In essence, if you are where God has placed you, you don’t have to worry about what comes your way because what we view as stumbling blocks are in fact stepping stones that God has placed in our path.
Through the life of the Old Testament patriarch Joseph, we discover how God provides an avenue for advancement even when faced with a zigzag course full of obstacles. A miserable pit and mundane prison can lead to placement in a marvelous palace.
An often overlooked encouragement in the life of Joseph is seeing God’s gracious hand in the hurts that others do to us. Faithfulness to God does not always ensure consistent fair treatment from others. Joseph could tell us a thing or two about rotten days. He can also tell us about unfairness. But most importantly, he demonstrates how to live above the circumstances of life by trusting in the Hidden Hand of God at work behind the scenes.
It is possible to remain faithful to God in the midst of a rotten day. Two times a cloak or a robe causes Joseph trouble but rather than sulking, he responds with faithfulness to the opportunities he receives. He was never so preoccupied with his own troubles that he failed to see the troubles of others. In his life we see willingness and a resolve to carry on under the sovereign activity of God.
Faithfulness in all circumstances is a characteristic that God looks for in all his children. F. B. Meyer states, “The child of God is often called to suffer because there is nothing that will convince onlookers of the reality and power of true faith borne with Christian fortitude.” When the episodes of life put us in a place we don’t want to be, it’s easy to give up. You cannot always tell from appearance how things will go. Often time’s imagination will make things out far worse than they are.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once wrote, “Life constantly presents each of us with circumstances which are beyond our control. There is a point in everyone’s life beyond which the gift of choice cannot reach. We are continually confronted with circumstances which we did not have the freedom to choose, but which we are forced to deal.” One of the great temptations of life is too become too absorbed in ones circumstances to the point where vision turns inward and we can no longer see beyond our state.
The great burden of life is to master the art of looking beyond one’s own circumstances and trusting in the Hidden Hand of God. This step of faith enables us to see reality as a whole and not just a partial view of our plight. This leap of faith gives us the ability to see the ultimate triumph of goodness coming from a Great God!
Lord, give us the grace to meet life’s trials with confident faith in a sovereign God. Father, when we are discouraged, keep us from giving up. Give us faith that your Word will come true as you operate in all circumstances of life for our good. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!