Crabtree Acres

Joseph and Tribulations
By Carolyn Bost Crabtree

I believe that Christian young people have the capacity to be strong, to be courageous, and to be successful as followers of Christ. I also believe that down deep in their hearts is the desire to have these qualities in them. Yet, I also believe that the Satan is trying in every way possible to keep them from being strong, courageous, and successful as a Christian. He is winning in so many lives, not just in the lives of young people, but in the lives of children and adults as well.

Satan wins only because we let him win. We give up to the world just at the time when we should be standing strong. We do not stand the test because we do not enjoy the testing that comes in our lives. I also believe that sometimes we as parents and teachers try to protect young people too much from the tribulations (testing) that God brings into their lives. We try to keep them from anything unpleasant and in the process we may be keeping them weak as Christians. We do this because we love our children and hate to see them hurting, but we may be working against the very things that God thinks they need to make them strong in Him.

Jesus said in John 16:33 that we as Christians would have tribulation (testing) in our lives. He did not promise an easy road to us. Romans 5:2-5 tells us that tribulation leads to perseverance; perseverance leads to character; character leads to hope, and hope leads to love. James 1:2-5 tells us exactly the same thing. We cannot love God or anyone else as we should until we go through the other steps.

What is perseverance anyway? Perseverance is standing strong in spite of what is going on around us. It is not giving up when things get hard or when we have persecution for being a Christian? What is character? Godly character is having the qualities of Christ in us. When we become Christians, Christ gives us His Spirit to live in us, but we have to allow the Holy Spirit to show out to others or He is quenched in us. We cannot do this in our own strength, but must depend upon the strength of the Lord to be able to stand and show Christ to others. The qualities of the Holy Spirit are mentioned in many places in the Bible, but my favorite place is in Galatians 5:22-23. The fruit (what shows to others and is able to bless others) of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. These are the qualities that come to us from the Holy Spirit and bless others when we allow the Spirit of God to show to others.

Joseph is a perfect example of this. He was loved by his father and his father protected him and blessed him as his heir. One thing I want to say about Joseph before I start is that nothing negative is ever said about Joseph anywhere in the Bible. He is a type of Christ himself. A type is something in the Old Testament that shows Jesus Christ and His qualities. Joseph went through every type of suffering that Jesus did except death on the cross. He was ridiculed, rejected by his brothers who planned his murder, sold into slavery in a foreign country, and thrown unjustly into prison. After his trials, Joseph was restored and raised up as a ruler in Egypt and restored to his family. Jesus was ridiculed, rejected by His brothers and His own people, sent to earth which was foreign to Him and became a slave to us by being murdered on the cross; after His trials and tribulation He was raised from the dead, restored to His father and lifted up as ruler over His kingdom. He was given all authority in heaven and on earth. In all his trials Joseph never complained against God. Jesus never complained. Joseph showed the character of Christ in all of his tribulations and God blessed him. He did not become bitter against his brothers, but he did put them through tests as well. As a result of the testing that came to Joseph’s brothers, they repented of their sin toward him and were restored to him and blessed by him.

When we as Christians come through the trials that God is allowing in our lives, we too can be restored and blessed by Him. Remember, Satan and his world cannot defeat us unless we allow it. We don’t have to give in and give up. God will give us the strength to stand strong.