Perspectives, Words of Endurance

Refusing the Label “Victim”

The Lord will stay with you
as long as you stay with Him!
Whenever you seek Him,
you will find Him.

The book of Psalms sings of Joseph’s abduction, slavery and captivity. “They bruised his feet with shackles,” we are told, and “his neck was put in irons” (PSALM 105:18) An old translation renders the last phrase of that verse, “the iron entered into his soul.” Somehow, the iron of Joseph’s shackles entered into his soul. He became strong and wise, just and merciful; he would be called “the prince among his brothers.” And through it all, he cultivated a strong sense of God’s presence.

How did he do it? How can we? How can we avoid bitterness when our dreams have been torn away? How can we maintain our walk with God when he allows our youth to be pillaged and our life to plunge into deep shadow and prolonged pain? We can learn much from Joseph.

Though attacked and wrongfully accused, though he endured suffering and cruelty, Joseph became fruitful beyond his dreams. Over and over again, Scripture tells us that “the Lord was with Joseph.” Why was He with him? Joseph set his heart on walking with God, and he did not allow any hardship, any adversity, any tragedy to come between him and his God. That relationship took priority over everything all of his life.

Joseph understood the hard realities of life. But he also clung to the conviction that a sovereign God rules over people’s affair. Wherever Joseph found himself, he served with all his heart, placing full trust in the Lord to care for him and vindicate him.

Joseph teaches us that when we seek God’s kingdom first, we may live content no matter our circumstances. With such a mindset – with such a Lord – circumstances cannot defeat us.