Lately, I have been in the greatest battle of my life. And though this battle is far from over, and I have no idea how it will end, Right now I feel defeated. I am exhausted from the pain that seems to have overtaken every part of me. When I ponder what will happen in the future and how this battle will end, I wonder if I am going to survive until then. I wonder if I am strong enough to keep on going if this battle rages on for as long as it is said that it will. I wonder how I am going to deal with all of this disappointment and pain. Every day when I wake up I pray and ask for the strength that I will need to make it until I fall asleep at night. And every day He gives it.
Sometimes I pray for this battle to miraculously come to an immediate end. I ask God to do for me what His word says that He will do for His people when they are attacked by the wicked. I ask Him to swoop in to my situation, shut the mouths of the liars and put them to shame as He restores all that they have stolen. I ask for Him to display His power and bring a quick and victorious end to this battle.
My Lord has chosen, at least for now, to let the battle rage, to let the wicked continue to come against me, and even to appear as though they are overtaking me.
For now, He has chosen to give me only the strength that I need for each day as it comes.
And He has asked that I be content with such as I am given, and that I continue to place my trust in Him, even though He has chosen to let this battle continue.
Sounds like a pretty big thing that He is asking of me, doesn’t it? Trust me, it feels every bit at big as it sounds. But, you know what? There are many, many believers who came before me, who have not only been asked to do the same, but have done so while also giving me, and you, fantastic examples to follow.
One of my “go to guys’ of scripture is Joseph. I know that I have written before about him. I am inspired by his story and by his faith. When I am feeling discouraged by my own story and, when I feel my own faith begin to waiver, I turn to the worn and familiar pages of Genesis, where I read about Joseph, beginning in chapter 37.
In the very beginning of Joseph’s story, it looks as if he has an easy life of privilege. In the beginning, that may well have been the case. But, just like in our own lives, his situation changed very quickly. In just one day, Joseph went from being the favored son to being a slave in a foreign land. From there Joseph was imprisoned. The journey, from slave to second in command of all of Egypt, was a long one filled with injustice and discouragement. I’m certain that there were many times during these very trying years when Joseph lifted his aching heart to heaven and begged for answers. I am also sure that there were times when the only answer he received were the words, “Trust Me”. I’m sure that there were times when the only thing that Joseph was sure that he could count on, was that His God would give him the strength that he needed to survive each day as it came.
When you and I read the story of Joseph, we have a luxury that he did not have. We are able to see exactly how the story ends. We can look at each trial that he faced, put it together with it’s outcome and see how God was bringing it all together for good, not only good for Joseph, but good for an entire nation. If Joseph had been able to see his story as we do, I have no doubt that, even though each trial would have been no easier, his discouragement would have been so much less. The heart that he lifted to heaven would have surely been less heavy because he would have already had the answers that he sought.
Trusting God would be so much easier for us all if we already knew how the story would end. However, faith isn’t really faith if we already have the answers. While knowing the ending would make life easier for us, it would make it so much harder to really come to know the One in Whom we have believed. It is during our trials that we learn the character of the God that we serve. It is during the times when we don’t have any of the answers that we are forced to trust in the only one who does.
Not only do we gain a more intimate knowledge of our Heavenly Father as we are in the midst of our toughest trials and darkest valleys but it is also during these times of testing, when we are being shaped and molded into who He wants us to be. He uses times like these to make us more like His Son.
There is something else that I have learned from Joseph’s story. When we first meet Joseph, he was the favored son in the house of his father, but as far as the rest of the world was concerned, he was nobody. While he was very important to his father and mother, he had no impact on anyone outside his family. It was only after he was taken from his comfort zone that he was able to bring anything of worth to anyone besides his family. God used the painfully unjust events of Joseph’s life to reveal Himself to an entire nation. God used Joseph in ways that He never could have used him if he had been left in his cozy corner of the world.
He does the same thing with you and with me. Just like Joseph, and just like me, you may be lifting your aching heart to heaven as you beg for answers. Things may look like they are going all wrong. You may feel betrayed by the very ones who should be offering help. You may be in the midst of your hardest battle, fighting against injustice and dishonesty. You may be crying out to the only one who knows how this story is going to end, begging for a miraculous and immediate change to a situation that you don’t understand why you are in in the first place. Maybe the only words that you can hear from heaven are, “Trust Me”. I know that it isn’t easy to do that. Believe me, I know. But just like He did in the life of Joseph, God is putting things in place right now to bring about a better ending. I don’t know when that ending will be, and I don’t know how hard the battle is going to get before the end comes. But I do know that it is in this battle that God is making us into who He wants us to be. It is in this valley where we will grow closer to Him and get to know Him better. And I know that until the battle’s end arrives victory is won and justice prevails, He will be faithful to give us the strength and the courage that we need to face each day as it comes.
(Still) Trusting in Him,