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Who’s Ready for a Test?

Then he sent someone to Egypt ahead of them, Joseph, who was sold as a slave. They bruised his feet with fetters and placed his neck in an iron collar. Until the time came to fulfill his dreams, the Lord tested Joseph’s character.  Then Pharaoh sent for him and set him free; the ruler of the nation opened his prison door.  –Psalm 105:17-20

Being a leader is not easy. Whether it’s your family, your church, or anything else–a leader has to go places he or she wouldn’t necessarily want to go. God takes leadership seriously and even “born” leaders go through the refining process.

Joseph had God’s favor and blessing as well as his father’s love and favor. He had incredible insight from God and knew, at least in part, where God was taking him. Then in an instant, it was all gone (or it seemed that way).

Joseph, like the rest of us, was not perfect. God sent him ahead to Egypt, away from his family, away from his comfort. God was with him every step, and His favor was evident wherever Joseph landed. God wasn’t being cruel, mean-spirited, vengeful, or indifferent. He had declared the end from the beginning. Joseph would be a great leader, honored by his whole family so why all these difficult circumstances?

testing

Until the time came to fulfill his dreams, the Lord tested Joseph’s character.

Too many times, we think that the hard stuff means God has left. Really it shows us more strongly that God is there. He has a plan for us, a destiny that will impact others’ lives as well as our own. When the time is perfect, God fulfills our dreams, but until that time, He tests our character.

If we stick with Him in the process, there is no other option but fulfillment.

That doesn’t mean there’s not a lot of death to our own desires and a lot of discipline that we go through; but just stop and think right now what it would look like to have your dreams fulfilled–you know, those God-dreams. Now realize that the value of knowing Him and the ability to see more clearly that we gain along the way is absolutely worth it.

As weird as it may sound, the dream can’t be fully realized without enduring these hardships.

The comfort, security, and convenience that you and I can cling to actually stands in the way. Sometimes we are forced (like Joseph) into a process. Sometimes we choose. How scary is it to think that we are delaying what God wants to do in and through us because we’ve wriggled out of the testing of our character?

If we continue to follow and cultivate a passion for relationship and obedience, we won’t be able to get out of it forever, but today I encourage you that your dreams are bigger than you and carry an eternal significance.

I can’t fully understand what it will look like when everything is finished being shaken and those dreams are fulfilled, but I can offer Him a humble and wholehearted, “Yes, Lord.” I hope you’ll join me today.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you embrace the tough times as testing or try to get out of it?

14 Comments

  1. I want to get out of testing times, but I do understand that God uses them for good reasons -- HIS reasons -- and they are part of His plans and purposes for us.

    Refining fire = Refining purposes

    And what I am also learning is that the refining process teaches us more about God’s character and faithfulness and love and grace -- and knowing Him is the best dream come true ever!!

    GOD BLESS!

    • Oh my, me too. It takes a lot of reminding from myself and others! And you’re so right--there are aspects of His nature we would not be able to see or experience outside of trials. His goodness is evident in all things. Good thoughts, Sharon. Thank you.

  2. You have written my heart Jason, this is the core of my teaching ladies to be a courageous wise hearted woman. There is no other way to become one unless you go through trial after trial. One thing that helps me stick it out is knowing people are watching how I take what is thrown to me. Last year I took on the Word, knowledge, asking God to take me deeper into my knowledge of Him. Well the deeper I begin to go, the more my physical pain went up. Since last October I have felt like there is an attack on my body and mind. I wanted deeper…well I got it, no way to go deeper then to suffer. It drives us to go past the meds, others opinions, even doctors at times to Him. I drag myself sometimes to the cross , lay it there and drag myself away only to be struck down again. I know the answer to my dreams lies deeper in Him. Again, good post..

    • I so appreciate your heart and thoughtful comments. It is amazing what suffering produces isn’t it? I’m humbled and amazed. Thanks so much, Betty. Strength to you. I read a scripture this morning that might speak to you too. Psalm 56:13, “For you have rescued me from death; you have kept my feet from slipping. So now I can walk in your presence, O God, in your life-giving light.” Something about that phrase “life-giving light” greatly encouraged me today. Blessings to you!

  3. I needed this one today! Thank you!!

    • Me too! Thank you, Deb. 🙂

  4. Your post is timely, I think, and should give me something to ponder. Testing is never pleasant, however, it really does help in the long run. Thank you for sharing!

    Blessings!
    Kim Jolly recently posted..Dare to be a Daniel: Taking Up the ChallengeMy Profile

    • I appreciate it, Kim. Thank you for coming by!

  5. If times of trial and testing can bring us closer to God, then I say, “Bring it on!” He will see us through, no matter what.
    Blessings, Jason!
    Martha Orlando recently posted..This Old StoveMy Profile

    • “Bring it on” is good! I might have trouble saying it believably! Ha! But it is true, testing is a good thing. It proves what (or who) you know and where the gaps in knowledge and understanding are. Thank you, Martha. Blessings to you too.

  6. Good one, Jason. I duck, dodge, bob, and weave trying to avoid the furnace of character polishing. Even though it’s always been the best part of my life… but that realization is always in hindsight too.

    The flesh is indeed weak… but a good reminder always helps.

    And, by the way, the Donny Osmond song “Any Dream Will Do” from the play Joseph’s Technicolor Dream coat is stuck in my head… my daughter was just in that summer play.

    • Ha! That’s perfect. And I know what you mean on the other too. 🙂 Thank you, Floyd!

  7. Man is the blessing and favor awesome and the result and victory after the testing as well. Glad for the testing to be prepared just wish it wasn’t necessary. Thankful for mercy and grace during it.
    Philip recently posted..Album Review: Joseph “I’m Alone, No You’re Not”My Profile

    • Exactly! I’m thankful too. Thanks Philip.

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