“until what he had said came to pass, the word of the Lord tested him.”
The Bible had me in a crazy awesome thought today. I was reminded of the story of Joseph. You know, the guy who dreamed a lot and wore the multi-colored coat.
In case you’re unfamiliar with the story, it’s found in Genesis 37-46. To try and sum up the story, it’s about the youngest son of a man who has 12 children. Not only is he subject to all of the “youngest” stigmas (babied by his mother, favored by his father, bullied by his older brothers, etc.) he was given the gift of dreams and interpreting dreams that would foretell the future.
One night Joseph woke up from a dream that foretold of his impending rise to leadership over Egypt, Israel and even his whole household (which, culturally at the time was unheard of. The youngest of 12 leading over the 1st born. It never happened). God spoke to him through this dream though, and Joseph believed to his very core that this was where God was leading him.
It would probably surprise you as much as it did Joseph to learn that his brothers turned on him after telling them of this dream. They bound him and sold him into slavery in the land of Egypt. He was a slave for years, accused of things he never did, thrown into dungeons.
It wasn’t until he was brought before Pharaoh himself that he began to see how God was still working and moving in his life to fulfill the dream that God had given him all those years ago. He interpreted Pharaoh’s dream of a coming drought that would last throughout the land for 7 years. Pharaoh then put Joseph in charge of all food and rations and put him only second to Pharaoh himself.
God fulfilled his promise that he made to Joseph in his dream all those years ago. But God brought Joseph low before he brought him high.
Often times in our lives we find ourselves in the lows. Wondering if God is really going to fulfill the prayer we truly believe He answered or the calling we truly believe he’s called us to.
For the past four years Courtney and I have held fast to the call in our lives that being on staff with Cru is where God wants us. Where he’s called us to be. We’ve been in, and through, the lows. For almost three of the past four years we have been raising our monthly financial support full-time. The whole time believing that God was still calling us to work full-time on the college campus, sharing and teaching the Gospel to college students.
During this time the Lord was testing our faith and commitment to the call that He’s put on our lives. However, I believe this “low” to have truly been a high when looking back on it. Yes, it was difficult, and at times Courtney and I would say to ourselves, “this is not what we signed up for.” But in the midst of it all — God was faithful. He used those times to show us what we’re really made of, and we quickly found that it wasn’t as much as we thought. If it hadn’t been for the strength of the Holy Spirit inside us, I don’t know if we would have had the resolve to still be where we are today.
Often times we compare trials in our lives to working-out or training for a big race. It’s a cliché comparison — “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” — but it’s true. The difficult things we experience that we push and pray through, but still make it out whole on the other side, are the things that refine and define us.
God is constantly making sure that we’re as “all in” like He is. At least I believe that to be part of the reason God brings us to a trial and we follow His leading. In our lives, like Joseph, God was faithful to us in the dream and vision that He gave us for being on staff with Cru sharing and teaching the Gospel to college students. The Lord wants good things for His beloved children (Romans 8:28). Trust and believe in that as you experience trials in your life.
Take a few moments the next time you’re in the thick of it all. Ask yourself if this is worth the costs of the call that God has placed on your life, or is he trying to get your attention to pull up anchor and set sail to somewhere new?
Think about it …