S: Genesis 45:3-8 “I am Joseph!” he said to his brothers. “Is my father still alive?” But his brothers were speechless! They were stunned to realise that Joseph was standing there in front of them. “Please, come closer,” he said to them. So they came closer. And he said again, “I am Joseph, your brother, whom you sold into slavery in Egypt. But don’t be upset, and don’t be angry with yourselves for selling me to this place. It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives. This famine that has ravaged the land for two years will last five more years, and there will be neither ploughing nor harvesting. God has sent me ahead of you to keep you and your families alive and to preserve many survivors. So it was God who sent me here, not you! And he is the one who made me an adviser to Pharaoh—the manager of his entire palace and the governor of all Egypt.”
O: He may have been a bit too brash in his younger days, but all the evidence points to Joseph having been a faithful follower of God throughout his years from his youth.
And yet, terrible things happened to him. He was sold into slavery by his own brothers, then he was falsely accused of attempted rape and spent more than 2 years in jail for a crime he didn't commit.
During all that time, there was no indication that God told him, "Don't worry! I've got a plan for all this -- you'll one day be Prime Minister of Egypt and save everyone from starvation in a famine!" Joseph just had to trust God and remain faithful through year after year of hardship.
Even then, Joseph could be considered one of the more privileged saints -- at least he got to know in this life what his suffering was for. Hebrews 11:35-40 gives examples of other saints who died in their suffering, never to see on this earth the purpose for their suffering. These had to just trust that only in the resurrection will they see God's purpose.
A: Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honour beside God’s throne. (Hebrews 12:1-2)
As Jesus said, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.” (Revelation 2:7)
P: Father, in times of trouble, teach me to keep trusting You and to take one day at a time. In Jesus' name, amen.
Note: this is using the SOAP method. For more information, see this page (not written by me.)