Life is in stages and no matter how much we don’t want it to be true, there is usually that moment of hard times. Hard times for me may not be the same for you but one thing is certain, we will always get to that point but many times, they are our defining moments.
The life of Joseph in the Bible tells a lot and of course, the life of the Israelites in Egypt tells a lot too. They all had their moments of hardship and most times, how we handle these hardships will determine how smooth or rough we will ride through it. Joseph rode through his hard times smoothly, he was sold to slavery, he was imprisoned for no fault of his but those were his path to the throne!
It is very easy when we read it through the pages of the Bible and because it takes us only some minutes to read through the story of Joseph, we may not truly be able to understand the level of hardship Joseph faced, he was in prison for ten years including the three years he spent with Potiphar.
Some other persons could see hard times as an excuse to engage in things that don’t reconcile with their identities. There have been those moments that I thought of engaging in cybercrime just to scale through certain hardships, there has been a time I almost engaged in illicit relationship with a married woman just to scale through hard times, there has been a time I wanted to cut corners just to scale through hard times but one thing or the other held me back through these times and not because I was as strong as Joseph.
Hard times can either make you lose sight of your identity or make you see who you are clearer. The Bible says that the Lord was with Joseph all those while,
“The LORD was with Joseph, so he succeeded in everything he did as he served in the home of his Egyptian master.” – Genesis 39:2
“But the LORD was with Joseph in the prison and showed him his faithful love. And the LORD made Joseph a favourite with the prison warden.” – Genesis 39:29
Many people would ask “but if the Lord was with Joseph, why allow him to go through all that?” Well, God saw the end from the beginning and made all things work for the good of Joseph. The most important thing to know while facing challenges is that God is with you and maybe putting things in place for you using that same problem as your building block.
Many people never get to know that God is with them all through those times of difficulties! Some people think that challenges are signs that God isn’t with someone but they may be wrong. Many people walked through the valleys of shadows of death, God was with them but never knew that God was with them and they lost sight of who they are and walked the wrong path. Jacob captured this in his thoughts when he said
“Surely the LORD is in this place, and I wasn’t even aware of it!” Genesis 28:16
Hardship shouldn’t make you forget who you are because that is where the problem begins. The moment you begin to have an identity problem, you can settle for less than you deserve! We make mistakes when we think the Lord has left us to figure it all out by ourselves.
Why will a woman decide to start prostituting her body just to make ends meet? It is because she got to that point of her life where she doesn’t matter so much to herself anymore, she doesn’t start to doubt God’s faithfulness and decides to do it her way. Why will people rely on crime to meet a need? It is because they lost sight of their identity.
Joseph understood this about himself and decided that he would not do such an “evil thing against his master and God.” He was ready to face the beat but dance to glory than live in temporal pleasure but a lifetime of regrets. He walked into the prison boldly and served his sentence joyfully. When you are still in touch with your identity, you will see the hand of God in every challenge, you will see his hand in every tough time and you will realise that it is for your good.
You deserve better and if it means waiting, there is no problem with waiting. We may all wait differently, I may see myself in what seems like lack but that may be my waiting period. At that waiting period, you need to be doing something, you need to be using the gift God has given you, you need to be reaching out to people and solving problems. Joseph was in prison but he was meeting a need! It was through the instrumentality of the need he met that he got to the throne.
What you do while you wait matters a lot! It is okay to volunteer for a while even if it is without pay, it is okay to starve for a while as you build that dreams, it is okay to try again when you have failed, it is okay to walk back to the right path even if you had derailed several times. Suffering for a while is worth it if it will take you to the throne! Nobody loves slavery and nobody loves the prison but this was what made Joseph.
Own up to your hard times, face it head-on and wear it like a crown! Don’t let your hard times weigh you down. Always stay motivated, being conscious of who you are in Christ Jesus. It is only for a while, and trust me; it is not going to kill you! It can only make you stronger. Ask Joseph, he would choose slavery and the prison over a moment of pleasure that would alter one’s destiny for life!
If you’ve still got breath in you, you can wait; you can walk back to the right path and continue the journey to greatness. Right now, it may be so hard for you, it may be full of struggles, ups and downs but one thing is certain; this is your making and journey to greatness.
I am proud of my hard times and I have decided to own it rather than have it own me.