Prophetic Momentum

Jon Cressey writing mostly about church, prophets and prophecy...

Dark moments of life

Do not pull over
If you want God’s best in your life and desire to make your life count, you likely need to be prepared to travel a road that includes a measure of adversity.

This road is ever-present, and it is incredible how God uses these challenging times to shape us, making us fit for His purposes. Adversity is a reality we all face. It encompasses those dark moments when we feel tested and tempted, hurt, misused, and abused. It is during these times we feel depressed, anxious, fearful, thoughtless, sinful, and sorrowful. Such experiences are part and parcel of life. At Emmanuel Sheffield, we often hear how God uses these trials to strengthen our faith and refine our character, reminding us that we are never alone in our struggles.

Understanding Adversity

Dark moments are inevitable, and God never promised us a life free of them. The crucial question we must ask ourselves is: How will we respond to them? Our response to adversity is influenced by several factors, including the duration of these dark times. For some, these periods of hardship might extend beyond what seems bearable—hours turning into days, weeks, months, or even years. This leads us to wonder: Why has God allowed such prolonged adversity in our lives?

There is a fundamental truth that these dark moments last only as long as necessary for God to fulfil His purpose in us. This means that these times have a defined limit and a specific purpose. They endure only as long as needed for God to accomplish His plans. Often, we do not understand His purpose, prompting us to question, “God, why are You allowing this? It seems so pointless and senseless. I’m just in pain, and it continues endlessly.” While we might not see the reason, God does because He views our lives from beginning to end.

The Story of Joseph

To illustrate this, let’s delve into the life of Joseph, whose journey exemplifies how God uses adversity for a greater purpose. Joseph’s trials began in his teenage years and extended over thirteen years of intense hardship.

In Genesis 37, we learn about Joseph’s early life. Jacob, Joseph’s father, lived in Canaan, and Joseph, at seventeen, was tending the flock with his brothers. He brought back a bad report about them to their father. Now, Israel (Jacob’s other name) loved Joseph more than his other sons because Joseph was born to him in his old age. Jacob even made Joseph a coat of many colours, a sign of his favouritism, which incited acute hatred among Joseph’s brothers. In their better moments, they could barely speak a kind word to him, if at all.

Joseph’s situation worsened when he shared his dreams with his brothers. In one dream, his sheaf stood upright while his brothers’ sheaves gathered around and bowed down to his (Genesis 37:5-7). This dream fuelled their anger and animosity. Joseph then had another dream where the sun, the moon, and eleven stars bowed down to him (Genesis 37:9). When he shared this with his father and brothers, his father rebuked him, and his brothers were even more jealous. Despite the animosity, his father kept these sayings in his mind. Things had gone from bad to worse – and more was to follow.

One day, Jacob sent Joseph to check on his brothers who were pasturing the flock in Shechem. This journey marked the beginning of a series of unfortunate events. Tired of Joseph’s dreams and their father’s favouritism, his brothers plotted to kill him. They threw him into a pit and later sold him to a caravan of Ishmaelites heading to Egypt, where Joseph was sold to Potiphar, the head of Pharaoh’s bodyguard. Things got worse and worse. Imagine Joseph’s relief when pulled out of the pit by the Ishmaelites – saved! Only to discover he would now probably walk alongside camels – destination: Egypt. Not good.

From Slave to Prisoner

In Egypt, Joseph faced a new set of challenges. As a slave in Potiphar’s house, he started with menial tasks, but his diligence and integrity soon caught Potiphar’s attention. God was with him but did not rescue him. Potiphar entrusted his entire household to Joseph’s care (Genesis 39:4-6). However, Joseph’s good looks attracted Potiphar’s wife, who tried to seduce him. Joseph refused, staying true to his principles and loyalty to Potiphar (Genesis 39:9). Angered by his rejection, Potiphar’s wife falsely accused Joseph of trying to seduce her, leading to his imprisonment.

Prison was a harsh and unjust punishment for Joseph, who had done nothing wrong. Yet, even in prison, Joseph’s character shone through. He found favour with the prison warden, who eventually put him in charge of other prisoners (Genesis 39:22-23). During his time in prison, Joseph, blessed by God with the ability to interpret dreams, interpreted the dreams of Pharaoh’s baker and butler, accurately predicting their fates (Genesis 40:12-19). Despite his accurate interpretation, the butler forgot about Joseph after being restored to his position, leaving Joseph to languish in prison for several more years. And the clock ticks, years pass, dreams fade.

These years of suffering and injustice could have easily led Joseph to despair. Yet, Joseph remained faithful and steadfast, trusting in God’s plan even when it was impossible to see the end. His unwavering faith and integrity during these dark times prepared him for the role that God had in store for him.

The Transformation

One day, Pharaoh had disturbing dreams that none of his advisors could interpret. It’s now time for God’s intervention in Joseph’s life. The butler, remembering Joseph’s gift, mentioned him to Pharaoh. Joseph was brought before Pharaoh, and with God’s help, he interpreted the dreams, accurately predicting seven years of abundance followed by seven years of famine (Genesis 41:25-32). Impressed by Joseph’s obvious wisdom and discernment, Pharaoh appointed him as the second-in-command in Egypt, tasked with preparing the nation for the upcoming famine (Genesis 41:41-43).

Joseph’s journey from being a favoured son to a slave and then a prisoner, ultimately leading to becoming a powerful leader, demonstrates how God’s plans can unfold in ways beyond our understanding. The thirteen long years of adversity were crucial in shaping Joseph’s character, wisdom, and leadership abilities. Through these trials, God prepared Joseph to save not only Egypt but also his own family and many others from the devastating famine.

Joseph’s story is a powerful reminder that God’s timing and purposes are perfect, even when we cannot see or understand them. His dark moments were necessary for God to accomplish His purpose, which was to place Joseph in a position where he could fulfil a significant role in God’s plan.

Embracing Adversity

Reflecting on Joseph’s life, we can draw valuable lessons for our own journey through adversity. We all experience dark moments, and it’s natural to question why we are going through such difficult times. It’s essential to remember that these moments are not without purpose – God uses them to shape our character, strengthen our faith, and prepare us for the roles He has planned for us.

When facing adversity, our response is crucial. Rebelling against these dark moments only prolongs them and can hinder God’s work in our lives. Instead, we should strive to trust God, even when we don’t understand His plan. Trusting God involves several key practices: reading and meditating on His Word, maintaining a consistent prayer life, and remaining obedient to His guidance.

Reading the Scriptures helps us understand how God thinks and works, aligning our minds with His will. It also provides us with the strength and wisdom to navigate our trials. Prayer is essential in building our relationship with God, allowing us to communicate our fears, doubts, and hopes, and to listen for His guidance.

On top of these things, obedience to God’s Word is vital. It demonstrates our trust in Him and our willingness to follow His path, even when it’s difficult. As we remain obedient, our trust in God grows, enabling us to face our dark moments with confidence and hope.

It’s important to recognise that the length of our trials is determined by God’s purpose in our lives. Sometimes, the dark moments may seem to last indefinitely, but they will only endure as long as necessary for God to accomplish His work in us. If we resist these moments, we may miss out on the growth and preparation that God intends for us.

God’s ultimate goal is to conform us to the likeness of Christ. This transformation requires perseverance, courage, and faith. Through our trials, God teaches us to trust Him, to be diligent, to be courageous, and to keep our eyes on Him. As we yield to His shaping, we become more like Christ, equipped to fulfil the unique purposes God has for each of us.

In moments of deep darkness, when it seems like there’s no end in sight, it’s crucial to remember that God is always with us. He sees the beginning and the end of our journey, and He knows exactly what we need to become the people He created us to be. Even when we can’t see the light, God is working behind the scenes, orchestrating events for our good and His glory.

So, if you are going through a tough time, hold on to the promise that God is with you. Trust that He has a purpose for your pain and that He will see you through. Use this time to draw closer to Him, to deepen your faith, and to let Him shape you into the person He wants you to be. Remember, no matter how dark the moment, God’s light is always shining, ready to guide you through.

Trusting God’s Plan

Joseph’s life story serves as a profound example of how God can use adversity for His greater purpose. Despite the many years of suffering and injustice, Joseph’s unwavering faith and trust in God led to a remarkable transformation, from a slave and prisoner to a powerful leader in Egypt. His journey illustrates that our darkest moments can become the stepping stones to fulfilling God’s purpose in our lives.

When we face our own adversities, it is vital to trust in God’s plan, even when we do not understand it. By staying faithful, reading His Word, praying, and being obedient, we align ourselves with His will and allow Him to work in and through us. Our trials, no matter how painful, are opportunities for growth, shaping us into the likeness of Christ and preparing us for the roles God has planned for us.

As we embrace our journey through adversity, let us remember that God’s timing is perfect, and His purposes are always for our good and His glory. By trusting Him through the dark moments, we open ourselves to experiencing His love, grace, and transformative power in our lives.

Moi
And just as Joseph emerged from his trials to fulfil a significant role in God’s plan, so can we, if we remain steadfast in our faith and trust in God’s unfailing promises.

Dark moments of life
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