“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” – Genesis 50:20
Years ago a story was shared in Reader’s Digest about a man who woke up one morning and discovered a pool of water in the center of his waterbed. Hoping to more easily locate the hole, he dragged the mattress out to his yard, attached a hose, and filled it completely. Unfortunately, the added weight made the mattress slide down a hill and into a bush that punctured it beyond repair. In frustration the man scrapped the water bed frame and purchased a new traditional mattress. Unfortunately, the next morning he awakened to discover a pool of water in the center of his new bed. You see, the upstairs bathroom had a leaky drain.
Have you ever had a leaky drain kind of day? Joseph did—every day for about 13 years. In Genesis 37, we are introduced to Jacob’s favorite son, Joseph. Not only had he been born to Jacob later in life, he was one of only two sons born to the love of Jacob’s life: Rachel. Unfortunately for Joseph, he wore his father’s favoritism on his sleeve…literally. Jacob gave his son a one-of-a-kind colorful robe that not-so-subtly screamed, “Favorite son! Favorite son! Favorite son!” As a result, Joseph’s ten brothers were jealous of him and hated him.
In anger, they tossed Joseph into a pit and then sold him as a slave to some traders heading for Egypt. And on the heels of that unconscionable act of treachery, Joseph spent the next 13 years of his life as a slave and prisoner in Pyramid Central. Sadly, those thirteen years ushered in two other doses of treachery that added insult to injury.
For starters, after having worked his way up to chief of staff in his master’s home, his master’s wife slandered his good name by accusing him of attempted rape. Piping mad, Joseph’s master threw him into the king’s dungeon, where Joseph would experience a third act of treachery. After several years in prison, one of Joseph’s friends betrayed him by failing to do for Joseph what he had promised to do: mention his plight to the king and petition for his release.
For 13 years Joseph suffered the agony of rejection, betrayal, slander and broken promises. All hope for Joseph would have been lost had it not been for one not-so-small reality: “The LORD was with Joseph and he prospered.” In a matter of moments, Joseph was promoted to the second highest position in Egypt. By God’s mercy and grace Joseph ascended from the pit to the palace. And within that position he was used by God to save thousands of people—including his own brothers—from starvation during a seven-year famine. The story of Joseph in Genesis 37-50 is an inspirational rags-to-riches story. And honestly, Joseph would have never made it to the palace had it not been for the pit.
This leaves us with a marvelous lesson from God’s Word: Oftentimes, God uses those who have suffered to rescue others who are suffering. It’s no coincidence that God used a man who had suffered for 13 long years to rescue a nation that would suffer for 7 years. It’s no coincidence that God used Jesus—a man of sorrows, acquainted with suffering—to deliver us from our own sin-cursed suffering. And it won’t be a coincidence when God places individuals in your path who are suffering in some of the same ways you have suffered.
If you’ve suffered through the horror of physical abuse, God will likely call on you to help others who have suffered in the same way. If you’ve suffered through an addiction to drugs or alcohol, God will likely use you to help others who are struggling with addiction. If you’ve suffered through betrayal and divorce, God will likely use you to minister to other betrayed spouses. And if you’re a cancer survivor, guess who God will likely call you to strengthen and encourage?
The fact that you’re a survivor, having persevered through your suffering, you have a wonderful gift: instant credibility. Your story is believable and relatable to those who are suffering in the same way that you yourself have suffered. Yes, that is an incredible gift from God, and you dare not waste it. The Lord wants you to use your post-pit credibility to encourage and pray for those who are suffering and point them to the only One in the universe who can promote them from the pit to the palace: Jesus Christ. Don’t miss your golden, God-given opportunity as a pit survivor to lead others to the hope and salvation that only Christ can bring.
Friend, at some time or another, each of us has been treated badly. Through no fault of our own, some of us have suffered abuse, been hit by a drunk driver or have been falsely accused of a crime we didn’t commit. Motivated by hatred and jealousy, certain people conspire to toss us into a pit and keep us there. But that’s not the end of the story. Our great God is able to use our deepest, darkest pit to help shape us into powerful instruments of peace, strength and healing in His hands. God does some of His most important character-shaping while we’re in the pit. But when our season in the pit has reached its end, God can promote us to the palace. He did for it for Joseph. Perhaps He will do the same for you.
Dane Davis is the Lead Pastor of First Christian Church in Victorville. For more information,
visit www.fccvv.com and join us for worship Sunday at 10 am.