The older I get, the more I recognize that difficult and sometimes painful circumstances in my past were the instruments God used to shape me for service today. One reason God brings adversity into our lives is to equip us for effective service.
In the book of Genesis, we have a long story about Joseph beginning in chapter 38. Joseph was sold into slavery by his angry, jealous brothers. In his first assignment, he was quickly promoted to Steward of Potiphar’s house. Potiphar was captain of Pharaoh’s elite military guard. After a false accusation, Joseph was thrown into prison, where he remained for at least two years. Then, through a sudden change of events, Joseph is promoted to second in command over Egypt. (Read this exciting story in Genesis 37,39-50)
“God could have brought Joseph directly to Pharaoh’s palace without taking him through the prison. He certainly did not need to leave Joseph in prison for another two years after interpreting the cupbearer’s dream. Joesph’s difficult circumstances were not necessary just for him to be in the right place at the right time. They were necessary to make him into the right kind of person for God’s responsibilities.” (Trusting God, p.187)
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
When we understand and apply the truths of God’s sovereignty, wisdom, and love and find comfort in our adversities, we will be able to minister to others in their times of distress.
Everyone faces adversity. Everyone needs a friend who cares and understands, someone to come alongside and offer comfort and guidance. When we respond correctly to adversity by receiving encouragement from the Holy Spirit and responding in faith, we are equipped to serve others facing similar trials.
Whatever you may be facing today, take courage! God is at work in your situation, and He is at work in you.