Updated: Jan 8
There was a sermon I heard once from a pastor named Derek Prince entitled “Don’t Give Up.”
In the sermon he said many things that resonated with me, one of them being
“You know what I’ve noticed about God's trials?
He never tells you that this is a trial and if you hold out for 6 months, you'll be through.
And some of us get to 5 months and 29 days, and we give up.
we didn't know we only had one more day.
…It’s not up to us to determine when the test is up. It’s up to God.”
He brings up psalm 105:17-19 which says:
and he sent a man before them— Joseph, sold as a slave.
They bruised his feet with shackles, his neck was put in irons,
till what he foretold came to pass, till the word of the Lord proved him true.
The King James version says: “The word of the Lord tested him.”
The story of Joseph is an incredible one. To make a long and inspirational story short and hopefully just as inspirational, here are the cliff notes.
It was apparent to Josephs's brothers that Joseph was the favorite child. For no other reason than Joseph being the baby of the family who was born to his father in his father’s old age and therefore treated in high regard by his father.
Any of us who have brothers and sisters can probably relate. We know the baby of the family gets treated differently than the rest of us. It's just the way it is.
Joseph had a dream that one day his brothers would be subservient to him and that he would be ruling over them. Probably not the best dream to be telling your brothers that hate you.
After telling his brothers about the dream, they plotted to kill him.
Imagine the hate they must have felt for him in order to plot Joseph's death because of a dream.
What we also have to take into consideration is that back in those days, dreams were more important than they are now. A dream was often looked at as a vision of the future.
We rarely treat dreams this way anymore. We barely remember them when we wake up the next morning. And not to mention, the dreams we have in our adolescence and youth eventually become drowned out by our everyday lives and responsibilities. We don’t hold our dreams in the same esteem we used to.
This could be because we understand that dreams can cost us, as Joseph was about to find out.
Instead of killing him, Josephs's brothers sold him into slavery. So much for his dream about ruling over them. Now he’s being sent to Egypt to be a slave by the same people he believed he would be ruling over.
But this isn't where the story ends. Joseph through many trials and ups and downs eventually becomes in command over all of Egypt, second only to Pharoah.
Joseph eventually not only saves the lives of his brothers but the lives of countless people during the famine in Egypt.
All these years later Joesph's dream eventually came true.
So why didn't God just bring Joseph's dream right into fruition when he had it? Why did Joseph have to wait so long and suffer so much before it finally came true?
Well at the time of his dream, Joseph was 17 years old. It would be 22 years before Joseph would see his brothers again, this time not as a slave, not as just the brother they hated, but as ruler over all of Egypt.
22 years went by before Joseph's dream came true, 13 of which he was a slave. If Joseph would have had his dreams come true the instant he had them, Joseph would be an arrogant young ruler. As any 17 years old, second richest person in the world would be.
As Derek Prince said in his sermon, “God cannot trust his authority to the arrogant.”
Jesus Christ himself said,
“for those who exalt themselves
will be humbled and
those who humble themselves
will be exalted.”
The only way to true humility is to endure suffering. To understand what it feels like firsthand.
And God will not finish until the test is complete.
How many of us go through struggle only to become more bitter and angry? How many of us extend the time of our testing by becoming hateful towards others and validating our hatefulness by saying things like “why can't I just get a break?
The answer to that question might be that we haven't allowed God to break us yet. We are looking for a break but won't allow ourselves to be broken. You see, God may not put us back together in the way He wants us to be if we are holding on to who we are. Holding on to all of our sins, all of our pain, all of our hatred, all of our rebellion, and all of our love for the things of this world.
If you are looking for a break, allow God to break you. When you are pieced back together by the creator of the universe, you will begin to finally feel whole.
One of the fruits of the spirit is long-suffering. The ability to endure till the end no matter what happens to us. Do you want to know the only way to grow in your endurance? It is to suffer long. And not only to suffer but to allow that suffering to produce endurance by finding Joy within the suffering. Difficult as it may be.
Paul says it best in Philippians 4:11-13
….for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.
I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation,
whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
You see we like to use the last part of those verses and forget about the first part. Learning to be content with little because we have more than we could even begin to imagine in Christ.
So my friend. If you are listening to this right now and you are facing a trial that feels like it will never end, don’t give up. Find the areas of your life that need to be broken in order for God to fix them. Let go of the bitterness, hatred, or anger you feel towards anyone or anything. These feelings do not serve you and they definitely do not serve God’s purpose for your life.