Have you ever wondered why God allows us to go through hard times?
I’d be willing to bet that you have. If God loves us and is a good God, then surely He could make sure that we never go through hard times, never have our hearts broken, and never experience tragedy.
And yet all the above are a part of life. Consider how Joseph was imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit, and spent three years in a dungeon of a prison cell. The reality is he probably could have given in to the temptation to sleep with Potiphar’s wife and no one would have known; instead, he does the noble thing and refuses to sin against God, and he goes to jail for it.
How is that fair? To Joseph, it isn’t. But in God’s sovereignty something good came from it. Sometimes God allows us to see the fruit of our suffering, and sometimes that fruit is not produced for centuries after our death.
Last week in Nicaragua one of our group members was teaching the children the story of Joseph. There was an entire lesson dedicated to his imprisonment, which is a difficult message to teach children. But an elderly man walked up during the message and listened intently, and when the verse was read that the presence of the Lord was with Joseph in his cell, this man decided that he wanted the presence of the Lord in his life, and he gave his heart to Jesus.
For Joseph, his suffering certainly seemed unjustified; in Genesis 50:20 Joseph acknowledges how God turned his troubles into good, but that was in reference to his brothers selling him into slavery, not his wrongful imprisonment. Joseph never got to see that a man in Nicaragua would experience salvation because of his testimony in jail.
If you are enduring some hardship, stay strong; one day you just might meet someone in heaven who came to Christ because of your testimony.
But the LORD was with Joseph and showed him mercy, and He gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison.