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The Tests of God Create Character

God planned to raise up a man, Joseph, to a high level of prominence in the government of Egypt to save his family, but for Joseph to be raised up, the way God planned was the way down. Don't you think that by the time Joseph was unjustly thrown into prison for an alleged rape that he began to wonder what the Lord was up to? He could not see what was ahead and perhaps could not see that his stewardship in the house of Potiphar, his master, and also his stewardship inside the jail, was just the preparation of God to teach him to manage all of Egypt during the upcoming famine. After becoming the second in command of the whole nation of Egypt, his brothers came down to Egypt to buy food. It was when they bowed before Joseph that he remembered his dream.

16He called down famine on the land and destroyed all their supplies of food; 17and he sent a man before them—Joseph, sold as a slave. 18They bruised his feet with shackles, his neck was put in irons, 19till what he foretold came to pass, till the word of the LORD proved him true. 20The king sent and released him, the ruler of peoples set him free. 21He made him master of his household, ruler over all he possessed (Psalm 105:16-21).

What’s your dream? Do you have the character base to support your dream? How fruitful do you want to be? Do you wish to be a tool in the hand of God? Is God speaking to you right now through these words? Then cling to Christ and beg Him to transform you into His image. Humble yourself and submit your will to His, and see what He will make of your life. Just as Joseph did, hold on to your integrity and run the other way when sin comes around wanting to play (Genesis 39:12). Let there be an abhorrence of sin in your life. Remember, you are created for eternity. Life is not just about what happens in this world. God is preparing you for what’s beyond this point in time, and character is the stuff of eternity. Don't go empty-handed. Let God mold and shape you into the likeness of Christ. No matter what trials you have to endure, whatever your lot in life, may it be well with your soul.

Horatio Spafford, after receiving a telegram from his wife, saying, “saved alone,” realized that his four daughters had died in a collision at sea. Immediately, he sailed for England to rejoin Anna, his grief-stricken wife. As his ship passed the approximate location where his daughters had drowned, his deep sorrow mingled with his unwavering faith in God's goodness caused him to write down words that became the following hymn:

When peace like a river attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll; Whatever my lot Thou hast taught me to say, “It is well, it is well with my soul!” Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come, Let this blest assurance control, That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate, And hath shed His own blood for my soul. My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought— My sin, not in part, but the whole, Is nailed to His Cross, and I bear it no more; Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul! And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight, The clouds be rolled back as a scroll The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend – “Even so, it is well with my soul.” For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live; If dark hours about me shall roll No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

Horatio and Anna Spafford, after these painful trials, went on to found the American Colony in Jerusalem, Israel. Some Americans and Swedish people joined them and gave of their resources by caring for Muslims, Jews, and Christians living in the Holy Land. They helped many returning Jews by housing, feeding and helping them to get on their feet and support themselves. God allowed Horatio and Anna to go through terrible trials to test and refine them through what they went through, but the testing of their faith brought them to a place of abundance (Psalm 66:10-12), and heaven alone knows how close to the throne with Christ they are, and what rewards they are enjoying right now. May you, too, experience His abundance and enter into your inheritance that is waiting for your homecoming! Keith Thomas


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