The odds may be stacked against you. Perhaps you’re stuck in an endless rut that continues to get deeper by the minute. Or possibly, family and friends oppose the plans you have in mind. Whatever the issue is, I want to take a few moments to encourage you that things will get better. Nevertheless, you have to believe that something incredible is ahead.
Although there are many Bible stories, the one that resonates with me deeply is about Joseph. This story is particularly impressive because his life seemed destined for failure. However, as you may know, Joseph overcame every obstacle, which is the epitome of success. While each person is unique, I believe his experiences show that we are all capable of achieving our full potential on earth.
He demonstrated faith
It’s easy to pay attention to the source of the problem when we are going through difficult times. But in Joseph’s case, even after being betrayed, he leaned on his faith rather than mere humans. Consider the following excerpt from Genesis 50:
15 When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?”
19 But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in place of God?
20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
21 So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.
Do you see what’s happening here? Joseph’s eleven brothers are fearful because their father Jacob has died after being reunited with Joseph, whom they sold into slavery years earlier, but is now the governor of Egypt. No longer protected by their father’s presence, they expected Joseph to retaliate for all the wrongs done against him. Instead of seeking vengeance, Joseph focused on the positives in this heartbreaking situation since his confidence was in the Lord.
You, too, will face crazy stuff at some time or another. Yet those struggles should be your motivation, not the killer of your vision. Have faith.
Forget your enemies
The saying goes: forgive and forget. Today, you may need to do just that to go into the promised land. I understand your ex cheated, or you got fired, or your best friend lied to you. However, if you want to realize your dreams, forget the losers who hurt you. Does that mean the memories will instantly fade away? Probably not. In any event, do your part to minimize any thoughts by choosing not to revisit the past.
As an illustration, in Genesis 41, after Joseph unlocks the meaning of Pharaoh’s dreams, he is made governor of Egypt. And a few years later, Joseph has two sons with his wife, Asenath. Listen to what he says in the verses below:
51 Joseph named his firstborn Manasseh and said, “It is because God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.”
52 The second son he named Ephraim and said, “It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.”
You see, Joseph was not supposed to be living his best life, especially in the comfort of the palace. After all, his brothers concocted a plan for him to die. But humans don’t control your life. God does. That is why Joseph was experiencing ashes turned into beauty because he no longer pondered about his previous pain. I urge you to do the same. There is something very beautiful in store for you too.
No one can keep you down
When you are filled with purpose, some people will try to halt your progress. It seems inevitable, but the moment that you recognize what you want to do in this life, a difficulty emerges to bring you down.
For example, after being sold to the Midianites, Joseph was eventually bought by Potiphar, the captain of Pharaoh’s guard. The favour of the Lord was so evident in Joseph’s life that Potiphar quickly put him in charge of his household. Besides, being an attractive man, Potiphar’s wife soon took notice and asked him to sleep with her. As the Scriptures show, Joseph flat out refused her advances. Therefore, feeling spurned, she set a trap in motion, which is detailed in Genesis 39:
11 When Joseph went into the house to do his work, and none of the men of the house was inside, 12 she caught him by his garment, saying, “Lie with me.” But he left his garment in her hand and fled and ran outside.
13 And so it was, when she saw that he had left his garment in her hand and fled outside, 14 that she called to the men of her house and spoke to them, saying, “See, he has brought in to us a Hebrew to mock us. He came into me to lie with me, and I cried out with a loud voice.
15 And it happened when he heard that I lifted my voice and cried out, that he left his garment with me, and fled and went outside.”
19 So it was when his master heard the words his wife spoke to him, saying, “Your servant did to me after this manner,” that his anger was aroused.
20 Then Joseph’s master took him and put him into the prison, a place where the king’s prisoners were confined.
Undoubtedly, Joseph was doing the right thing as seen above. Still, he was the one being punished. And if you read more of the story, you will see that Joseph didn’t allow the injustices to keep him down. Even in prison, he was cheering up the other prisoners despite being locked up himself.
Now, to be clear, I am not suggesting that this example should be a mirror for our response today. Facing accusations of sexual assault is serious and should be taken seriously. What this story does tell us is that people will lie and cheat to sabotage our future. Interestingly, after Joseph is the second command in Egypt, the Bible makes no mention of Potiphar or his wife again. Indeed what the enemy meant to harm Joseph failed. Can you imagine the reaction when Potiphar and his wife learned that Joseph was governor and thus their boss? I would have loved to see their faces.
Dream big. You can reach the stars and do the impossible. While there will be valleys and mountains that lie ahead, they don’t have to destroy you. Believe that you CAN and you WILL!
“Be of good cheer. Do not think of today’s failures, but of the success that may come tomorrow. You have set yourselves a difficult task, but you will succeed if you persevere, and you will find a joy in overcoming obstacles. Remember, no effort that we make to attain something beautiful is ever lost.” ― Helen Keller