The Purpose of Setbacks
Then [God] sent someone to Egypt ahead of them— Joseph, who was sold as a slave…Until the time came to fulfill his dreams, the Lord tested Joseph’s character. Psalm 105:17,19
There’s an amazing story about a slave who becomes second in command of a powerful nation. His secret? God was with him.
Our story starts out with Joseph as a young idealist, favorite of his father, full of hope and ambition. Suddenly, Joseph’s life takes a terrible turn– he’s sold into slavery by his jealous brothers. Joseph finds favor with his new master, but he’s wrongly accused of a crime and ends up in prison. Joseph finds favor again, in prison, but those who promised to help him, forget him. Joseph’s life looks like a confusing maze of stunning favor and devastating disappointment. But all this sets Joseph up for finding favor with the king of Egypt. Joseph’s wisdom, discernment, and integrity end up saving the entire nation and his family line.
Perhaps you have had a string of disappointments in your life. You can list the failures and setbacks, the plans that didn’t work, the heartbreaks and accusations. But like Joseph who experienced betrayal, slavery, and imprisonment, through those trials, God can prepare you for influence and redemption. Scripture explains, “Then [God] sent someone to Egypt ahead of them— Joseph, who was sold as a slave…Until the time came to fulfill his dreams, the Lord tested Joseph’s character” (Psalms 105:17,19).
Your story isn’t defined by one failure or even a whole string of disappointments. When surrendered to God, those hardships can develop in you the humility, faithfulness, and integrity to be entrusted with far greater responsibilities than you dreamed. It’s not in easy promotion that we cultivate bone-deep integrity and unwavering faith. It’s often in prisons of injustice and chains of betrayal.