Overcoming Adverse Circumstances

Overcoming Adverse Circumstances

But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God.
–1 Peter 2:20

Joseph is somebody who maintained the attitude of a victor. After overcoming the unloving actions of his family members, he overcame undeserved accusations from others. Joseph ended up in Egypt, where he was sold as a slave to Potiphar, who put him in charge of all of his household. Everything was under Joseph’s control; the only thing off-limits was Mrs. Potiphar. Unfortunately, Mrs. Potiphar never got the memo. She tried to seduce Joseph, but he told her, “How then could I do this great evil and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:9). Whew! Joseph made it out of that one. He never had to suffer that again, right? Wrong. Do not ever think just because you successfully battled temptation one time that it is over. Mrs. Potiphar came to Joseph day after day. Finally, one day, she grabbed him and said, “Lie with me!” How did Joseph respond? He ran as fast as he could in the opposite direction. But when Potiphar came home, and his wife lied to him and said, “The Hebrew slave, whom you brought to us, came in to me to make sport of me; and as I raised my voice and screamed, he left his garment beside me and fled outside” (vv. 17-18). Potiphar’s anger burned so hot that he ended up throwing Joseph into prison. We have this strange idea that if we do the right thing, we get rewarded. Yes, we get rewarded eventually, but not immediately. In fact, many times, instead of being rewarded for doing the right thing, we suffer for doing the right thing. Look at the words of the apostle Peter: “But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God. For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps” (1 Peter 2:20-21). Joseph experienced negative consequences for doing what was right. He had to overcome an unfair accusation that changed his life completely.

That led to a third source of difficulty in his life: overcoming unfair neglect by his own friends. Not long after Joseph was thrown into prison, two new people came to prison. One was Pharaoh’s cupbearer and one was the baker. Both men made friends with Joseph, and one night they each had a dream. Joseph told the cupbearer, “Your dream means you are getting out of here soon.” And he told the baker, “Sorry, but in three days you are going to be executed.” Sure enough, three days later the baker was executed, and the cupbearer was sent back to Pharaoh’s palace. Before the cupbearer left, Joseph said to him, “When you get out, do not forget me. Tell Pharaoh about me and how I have been unfairly accused.” A few days came and went. No word. A week passed, then a month, then a year without even a postcard from the cupbearer. Joseph had been forgotten by his friend. But God was doing something that Joseph could not even see. He was doing something in Pharaoh’s heart. You might know the rest of the story: When two years had passed, Pharaoh had a disturbing dream, and the cupbearer finally remembered Joseph. Pharaoh ended up promoting Joseph to prime minister over all of Egypt. That is how God works. Joseph could not see God’s entire plan, but he was able to overcome adverse circumstances instead of becoming a victim.

Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Survival Tip #4: Develop A Victor, Not A Victim, Mindset” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2019.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.