I’ve been thinking a lot about Joseph lately. He was sold into slavery and endured imprisonment altogether 13 years. In those 13 years God pruned Him (John 15:1-2). He suffered, was misunderstood, maligned, elevated to positions of leadership within servanthood and prison, endured humiliation and probably filthy living conditions. Yet he shone. He shone with his faith in God, his faithful following of God, his reliance upon God in difficult circumstances. We don’t hear anything about discouragement or disappointment but I’m sure he struggled with it just as much as we do. We see the resultant outcome though, he continued to trust God in spite of the seemingly insurmountable hurdles. It must have seemed like he would never be free, and certainly that his dream of having his family bow to him, was laughable. And yet God encouraged him. He blessed him with authority in Potiphar’s home and with leadership roles in the prison. Then he interpreted the cupbearer and baker’s dreams. Now, finally, it was time for Joseph to flourish. But no, God was not finished with his training yet. He had two more years. What heights of hope, what depths of disappointment. What lessons were learned? Lessons of humility, of God’s sovereignty, of learning to lead as God wanted him to when finally he would be given authority over all Egypt second only to Pharaoh.

So, when we walk through this path, this personal plan that God has for each of us, is it any wonder that we also need to walk through suffering, humbling circumstances, disappointments, discouragements and seemingly insurmountable challenges? Failures? Yet God is so kind to give us encouragement along the way, blessings, His presence, His embrace. And then, when He says we’re ready He opens the Gate and says “GO, my child. I will go with you. I have gone before you to prepare the way. I will never leave you or forsake you. I will guide you always.” What an adventure this life is with God at the helm. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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