How Much Faith Do You Have? (Joseph, part 4)

How do you know how much faith you have? Do you know how strong faith is when things are good? Or do you find out how much faith you have when life turns upside down? I believe it takes faith to make it through the best and worst of times! Your faith is strong enough to see you through the best and worst of times if it you will trust God’s ability to keep you in his hands.

Reading through Joseph’s life story in the later stages (Genesis 41-42) I can see some realities about faith.

Trust in the Tough Times. Joseph was wrongly imprisoned, forgotten for two years, suffered broken family relationships, and disappointments. He joins a cast of Bible characters who had to endure very difficult situations, sometimes for years. I think of Caleb, Joshua, and the Israelite children who wandered in the wilderness for 40 years before entering the Promised Land (Numbers 14). That’s just one example.

What tough times have you been enduring through faith? Do not give up! These are the kinds of times that faith is for! We cannot become impatient with God, for we do not see the whole picture as He does. But it is not only tough times that call for faith…

Trust in the Triumphant  Times. Joseph followed what God revealed when he interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams. He used his knowledge for the good of others. His family relationships were restored. But even though he was now powerful and had enjoyed such blessings, he did not feel so secure in his position in Egypt that he abandoned his trust in God.

We look forward to times of triumph, when faith wins out…when we feel good about our                       lives. Do we sometimes forget to give God thanks when things are good?

Pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. ~1 Thessalonians 5:17-18

This gives us hope in the tough times, to know that the triumphant times are coming!

Trust in Spite of the Temptations. Several things could have kept Joseph from                              repairing his family relationships:

  • Holding a Grudge
  • Seeking Revenge
  • Practicing Deceit
  • Using his power to hurt others
  • Placing the blame

Instead he chose the path of forgiveness. To Forgive means to “give up resentment  against or the desire to punish; to pardon.” To forgive means we let go of our bitterness,                                   hurt, and pride.

“bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Luke 6:28

One of the greatest joys of the Christian life is forgiving those who hurt us. C. S. Lewis describes hell as a place where no one ever forgets anything but remembers every slight,                           every cruel exchange of words, every harmful act, and everyone is utterly unforgiving. (The Great Divorce, C. S. Lewis)

In contrast, one of the greatest things about heaven is found in Isaiah 65:17:  Behold, I                      will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind.

Let’s embrace a taste of heaven right now by praying for the strength to forgive. Pray right now:

“Lord, you know who hurt me. With Your help I forgive them and free them from the prison of my heart. Lord, from now on help me focus on my purpose in life – to live  for you. Amen.”

Joseph’s faith saw him through the tough times, triumphant times, and in spite of the temptations.

Your faith is strong enough to see you through the best and worst of times if it you will trust God’s ability to keep you in his hands.

I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. ~ Matthew 17:20

I don’t need to move mountains… just make it through to the next step in my faith journey.