While God will lead you to a better life, you will have to go through a “training period.” Joseph did, and he passed his tests – will you?
We all know the story of Joseph, but as a bit of a refresher, let me cliff-notes this for you. Joseph ticked off his brothers, they threw him down a hole, then sold him into slavery. There’s a lot more that goes into it, but, for the sake of time, we’ll get to the meat and potatoes of the story – the “training period” of Joseph and why it should matter to you.
When Joseph was sold, he was put into the house of Potiphar. While he was there, Potiphar saw that he was blessed and had a gift for administration. Through roughly 11 years, the house of Potiphar was prosperous and everything ran smoothly, that was until Potiphar’s wife tried to “lay with him” (have sex), the “him” being Joseph. Joseph wouldn’t have any of it, so she lied to her husband and Potiphar had Joseph thrown in prison, where he stayed for roughly two years. Throughout that time, he was again given administration over the entire prison because God had pity on Joseph and blessed him for Joseph’s sake. Under Joseph’s administration, the prison and inmates prospered. All of this led up to the point where Joseph would be called before the Pharoh himself to interpret his troubling dreams. After Joseph’s interpretations, the meaning given to Joseph by God, Pharoh made him governor to the whole of Egypt where he was second in power with Pharoh being over Joseph. The administration skills and integrity that were used during the time in Potiphar’s house, as well as the prison, would work to save Egypt from a 7-year famine.
Ok, we know this from Genesis, but there is a deeper meaning to the story, a rhyme, if you will to what you may be going through in your life.
Joseph, while he was a slave, was obedient to God with regard to his responsibilities to Potiphar and the masters in the prison. Joseph also showed his integrity throughout those thirteen years. More importantly, these traits would groom Joseph, so that he would be able to do what God actually meant him to do, and that was to save Egypt so that the nation of Israel would survive the famine by being in Egypt.
In Egypt, there were 7 years of plenty before the 7 years of famine. Joseph was able to manage Egypt and save it because of how he did things when he was in his “fat calf years” within Potiphar’s house and his “lean-calf years” while in prison. Both periods groomed the man, not only in how he managed things but also in how Joseph’s character remained unblemished. Joseph’s obedience and uncompromising nature, a nature of integrity pleased God, thus God moved him from his “training period” that lasted thirteen years into his new position as governor of Egypt.
Are you in a “training period?”
I’m in one, and I know this to be true. Throughout the last decade and a half, I’ve gone through poverty and prosperity. I’ve had a steady income and I’ve had lean weeks and months where nothing has come. I’ve seen my fat calves and skinny calves, and I’ve learned to lean on God, do a better job at managing the things God has given me, and, most importantly, I’ve learned to praise God in the process and keep my integrity. Have I made mistakes, you bet, and that’s why my training period has been a long one. God will not move us up until we can handle His blessings. If we were to be placed in positions He (God) has in mind for us too soon, the weight of the blessing would crush us. My dream is to live a creative life, a life that will allow me to work from home and have command over my time; a life with substantial income, and I truly believe that I will get that because of what I’m going through now and have gone through in the past. For me to have this life, the paychecks won’t be steady, hence the training period that involved layoffs. To have this life, I may have lean seasons – skinny calves – and I must know how to do things during those periods. For my new life, I must have command of my time, manage myself, work with others, handle challenges, be quick to decide, listen, and keep my integrity. Most importantly, and this is the greatest lesson of my training – I must have faith in God’s Plan, that He will provide through His blessings, and praise Him throughout it all, keeping God first and foremost through it all. When will my training end, I have no idea, but it will end and the promise of Psalm 37:3-5 will come to pass – it is inevitable.
If you’re a Christian, you’re going through training periods that will lead you into a beautiful and abundant life. Learn while you’re in your fat and skinny calf years. Read, and re-read Psalm 37:3-5 (as well as the whole Bible), because it’s a promise to you, a child of God through Jesus Christ.