Have you ever had those times when you've doubted God and said to yourself, "He just doesn't care about me?" If you're honest with yourself, the answer is a cowering "yes."
Ashamedly, I know I have. Probably too many times to count.
There are times when the expectations of life don't match reality, and frustration sets in. It's a time when the enemy can steal your confidence and your joy. It's easy to become stressed and doubtful of God's Word.
For me, that's when divine appointment comes. God knows how to deliver a good word at just the right time, and He did it recently through my pastor, Ed Garvin, who preached a sermon called "Reality Check: When Expectations and Reality Collide" (the sermon starts at 16:20).
We all know the story of Joseph and the trials and tribulations he went through during his young life, before he became an extremely influential man. However, I had never heard it preached this way before.
Joseph was a man of destiny, and he sensed that at a very early age. He was convinced, as Pastor Garvin said, "that his tomorrow held greatness." Indeed it did, but little did Joseph know of the hardships he would endure before he reached that potential.
After his brothers unexpectedly turned on him and sold him into slavery, Joseph served a man named Potiphar, and he began to find favor with his master. Yet God knew better than Joseph that Joseph wasn't ready for his destiny. Joseph still had ego issues with which he had to deal, and more trouble loomed on the horizon.
Because Joseph shunned her sexual advances, Potiphar's wife accused Joseph of sexually attacking her, and Potiphar had Joseph thrown into prison. According to Genesis 39:2, "The Lord was with Joseph," yet he was imprisoned. Sound familiar? The Lord is also with you, yet your trials and tribulations overwhelm you.
Most of you know the rest of the story: Joseph languished in prison for many years, but was brought out by Pharaoh because of the gift God bestowed upon him to interpret dreams. Joseph then became, as Pastor Garvin put it, the "second most influential man on the planet" and realized his destiny. In other words, something incredible happened between Genesis chapter 40 and Genesis chapter 41. Joseph matured in the Lord. Romans 8:28 says, "We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose."
Sound familiar? For every 40, there is a 41.
God rained his judgment upon the earth for 40 days and 40 nights. On the 41st day, a rainbow appeared and God vowed never to destroy the earth again.
The Israelites wandered through the desert for 40 years. In year 41, they reached the Promised Land.
For 40 days, Goliath hammered on the armies of Israel. But on the 41st day, David showed up and slew Goliath.
For 40 days and nights, Jesus fasted and prayed in the wilderness. On the 41st day, Satan left Him and the angels ministered to Him (Matt. 4:11).
For every season of difficulty, there is a season of destiny. So what should you do during your season of difficulty in order to help find your season of destiny? As Pastor Garvin says:
Recognize it as God's course of preparation. You need to be refined.
Respond to the needs of others. Stop the "woe is me" mentality and focus on others who need help.
Resist the urge to compromise. Keep your integrity and don't take shortcuts.
Remain patient in the process. As Joyce Meyer says, "the longer you complain about your situation, the longer you will remain in your wilderness."
Realize your "41 moment." It's coming. God wants it for you so badly.
Joseph needed wisdom and humility, and it took 13 years of tribulation to find it. I've been through a similar process. But thankfully, a good friend has prophesied over me that my time is coming, if I remain faithful to the Lord. Thank you for the good word, Kathy DeGraw.
Unlike Joseph, hopefully it won't take 13 years for you to have your rough edges sanded. But you can rest assured God knows exactly when you are ready to fulfill your destiny and He won't pull you out of your season of testing—or your 40—before He feels you are ready. Get ready to fulfill your destiny.
And as I always like to say, "there is that."
Shawn A. Akers is the online managing editor at Charisma Media. He is a published poet and published a story about Dale Earnhardt in NASCAR Chicken Soup for the Soul. You can read his blog here. To sign up for his newsletter, "Step Out of the Boat," and other Charisma newsletters, click here. You can also listen to his podcasts, the Javelin Sports Show, on the Charisma Podcast Network.
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