Acing the Test, Part 3

Atop Goat Peak, Cabinet Mountains Wilderness, Montana

Atop Goat Peak, Cabinet Mountains Wilderness, Montana

We’re continuing our series on Joseph and how he handled the trials and tests that came into his life.  First, he needed to believe that God had spoken to him.  Second, he had to continue to believe even when his family did not believe him.

Snow below Mount Oberlin along the Hidden Lake Trail, Glacier National Park, Montana

Snow below Mount Oberlin along the Hidden Lake Trail, Glacier National Park, Montana

This week, we’re moving on in the story of Joseph to where his brothers – some the main people who did not believe that God’s word to Joseph would come true – sold him into slavery.  He was taken to Egypt and sold to a nobleman named Potiphar.

Delicate Arch from the Upper Delicate Arch Viewpoint, Arches National Park, Utah

Delicate Arch from the Upper Delicate Arch Viewpoint, Arches National Park, Utah

For Joseph, this was diametrically opposite to what God had said would happen.  God had told him that he would be a ruler; that his brothers would bow down to him and pay him honor.  Instead, these hateful brothers caused him to become a slave, the very lowest person in a foreign household.

Misty low tide at Arcadia Beach, Oregon

Misty low tide at Arcadia Beach, Oregon

Joseph was trapped as a slave.  There was seemly no way out of this position.  The Bible doesn’t say what Joseph was thinking at this point, but it must have seemed like those dreams were totally impossible.

Table Mountain, Jedediah Smith Wilderness, Wyoming

Table Mountain, Jedediah Smith Wilderness, Wyoming

Joseph’s test in this season was to not be bitter toward his brothers or toward his current situation.  Somehow, he had to continue to trust that God was with him and to accept that even here God could work through Him and with him.

Views over the southern end of Badwater Basin from Telescope Peak, Death Valley National Park, California

Life throws us curveballs.  Sometimes they take us off-guard, others we know we “should” have seen coming.  When the curveballs come, they usually do not look like the good things that God has promised us.

Our attitudes are our choice in these negatives situations and circumstances.  Some of us are more likely to behave one way or another, and emotions are very real.  But we can still choose: Am I going to trust that God is here with me and He is for me whether or not I can see the promise in this situation?  Or am I going to choose to ask why and become bitter because it’s not working out the way I think it should?

Hiking along the back of Chicago Peak, Cabinet Mountains Wilderness, Montana

Hiking along the back of Chicago Peak, Cabinet Mountains Wilderness, Montana

It’s sort of like when we’re hiking on a trail that supposedly has a beautiful view.  We’re hiking through the forest, mile after mile, with nothing but trees.  Are we going to trust the people who have hiked this trail before that the view is actually spectacular?  Or are we going to quit and call the blog author a “liar” because we didn’t see the view she saw… even though we aren’t at the end of the trail yet?

Forests and meadows along the Timberline Trail near McNeil Point, Mount Hood National Forest, Oregon

Forests and meadows along the Timberline Trail near McNeil Point, Mount Hood National Forest, Oregon

Choosing trust may not be the natural response when our worlds are shaking.  But it’s the one thing that can keep us from becoming bitter – and bitterness shuts off our ability to hear God, receive God’s love, and be in fellowship with Him.  It also limits the fulfillment of the promise, especially the speed at which the promise comes into being.

Stough Creek Trail in Stough Creek Pass in the Wind River Range of Wyoming

Stough Creek Trail in Stough Creek Pass in the Wind River Range of Wyoming

For Joseph, his choice to continue to trust God meant that God’s blessing could continue to flow through him.  It didn’t take long for Potiphar to notice that everything Joseph touched was blessed.  So Potiphar began promoting Joseph until the young slave was over everything in the nobleman’s house.  Perhaps his brothers weren’t bowing down to him, but Joseph was ruling within the household.  He was also learning invaluable lessons about leadership that he could never have learned if he had stayed ruling over only his bitter, hating brothers.

Icicles near Densmore Falls, Irondequoit, New York

Icicles near Densmore Falls, Irondequoit, New York

It was a glimpse of hope – a glimpse that maybe those dreams were actually true.  For the first time, Joseph was seeing that his belief in God’s word was not in vain.

Cathedral Lake from the Electric Pass Trail, White River National Forest, Colorado

Cathedral Lake from the Electric Pass Trail, White River National Forest, Colorado

On the trail, it’s the glimpse through the trees to the view beyond.  The sudden realization that the view was there all the time, but we just couldn’t see it.  That the blogger wasn’t lying when she said the view was amazing.

Peek-a-boo views to Mt. Hood from the Elk Meadows Trail, Mt. Hood National Forest, Oregon

Peek-a-boo views to Mt. Hood from the Elk Meadows Trail, Mt. Hood National Forest, Oregon

It’s our choice to trust God even when the circumstances are anything but promising.  But if we can trust even through the storm, we are on the road that will take us to the fulfillment of the promise.