Until the time came to fulfill his dreams, the Lord tested Joseph’s character. Psalm 105:19 (NLT)
In the Old Testament, God tested Joseph. A lot. Mistreated by his brothers. Sold into slavery. Falsely accused of rape. Thrown into prison. Forgotten by those he helped.
Did you ever wonder why Joseph had to go through so many tests? Psalm 105:19 tells us God did it to test his character. And it sounds like Joey had some stuff to work through.
First, his prideful attitude toward his brothers had to go, to be replaced by humility. Then he had to learn and demonstrate integrity and honesty while he tended Potiphar’s estate and resisted the man’s seductive wife. Then patience while he sat in the prison cell, forgotten by those he’d helped get out.
Above all, he had to learn to trust God as his only source. Then he was fit for the master’s use.
If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities. Luke 16:10 (NLT)
Joe had to demonstrate faithfulness in the little things in each place God put him. He learned to trust God, not himself. He learned to depend on God’s plan and provision, not his own wiles.
I’ve seen God do the same thing in my life. Every promotion was preceded by a phase of learning and testing where he filed the rough edges off (and sometimes he had to use a power washer) to prepare me for the next step.
This has really manifested in this writing career he’s called me to. First, I had to learn the craft of writing. Not just English composition but story telling, character building, learning more about people (and thus more about myself) and the things I wanted to write about.
This led to the Christian Writers Guild, to other writing courses and conferences, to critique groups, to a mentor. Each step was a test. Could I apply myself to writing? Could I learn to accept criticism? Could I learn to apply it to my writing? Could I put my super-sensitive ego aside and open myself to hearing things I didn’t want to hear? Could I learn to accept rejection? And could I use these rejections to move forward and become better?
And I learned. Sometimes it was harder than others. Sometimes I was on the verge of giving it all up and go be a greeter at Wal-Mart. Here he tested my diligence and my patience.
And I’ve seen doors open I didn’t expect. Doors to coach and mentor, to lead groups, to edit, to ghostwrite. To help other writers become better and to see them published.
Yeah, he’s tested me and improved me and brought me into the larger things. And he continues to test and improve me, preparing me to move into even larger things.
I originally posted this blog a couple of years ago. And it still rings true today. God is challenging me in my writing, in my marriage, in my relationships, in my ministry service. Some of the tests are the hardest I’ve ever faced. But he is strengthening me and showing me things I must change if I’m to be all he’s called me to be. And he is guiding helping each step of the way.
How about you? How is God testing you? What are you learning about yourself? And him?