At some point or another we've all faced trials or hardship. For some, it could be something as small as a temporary financial setback. For others it may be the loss of a loved one, a health crisis or unexpected job loss that causes devestation. Whatever the circumstances, it’s easy to lose hope when you can’t see a way out or questions are left unanswered.
For me, that storm was the loss of my marriage.
It was unexpected and some days the pain was debilitating.
I could not see a way out, let alone an end to my pain.
It took a community of believers, who rallied around me and helped me pick up the pieces those initial months. Some were people already by my side and most were people I met solely by divine intervention. God not only met me in the depths of my pain but He appointed angels on earth to carry me in my weakness. Their strength gave me a glimpse of hope. I was initially hoping for full restoration of my marriage but I realized a year after relentlessly fighting for my marriage that it was not God’s will for my life.
Had I not gone through all I did that first year of separation, with my husband, I would have not understood His will and most likely would have not taken it so well. See, after my husband asked for a divorce, I decided I would do whatever it would take to save my marriage. I was willing to look past the betrayal and start new. I dove into my faith full force. I began praying relentlessly, tithing, pursuing God continuously, I attended church regularly. Healing and restoration for my marriage was the driving force all the while God was pursuing me and molding me in order to prepare me for what He has called me to.
When my husband proceeded to file for divorce a year later, surely I was heartbroken but I had a clearer understanding that sometimes our wants are not the things God has in mind for us. My divorce is still not final. It’s been over two years and often times people around me say things like “ I don’t understand how you do it.” or “ I don’t know how you haven’t lost your mind yet.” I did not see it then but I see it now, the answer is simple, I started living a Joseph mentality.
You’re probably wondering what living a Joseph mentality looks like.
Let me explain.
Joseph was one of twelve boys and highly favored by his father. Joseph was a dreamer and he had a great calling on his life. Joseph’s brothers were already extremely jealous of him and hated him. When he shared the dreams pertaining to his calling it ignited more hatred in his brothers, as a result of that they threw him in a pit and sold him into slavery. He was rejected and betrayed.
He was then sold to Potipher and became his slave. When Joseph worked for Potipher he worked hard and as a result he found favor in his master’s eyes. Potipher’s wife tried to get Joseph to sleep with her and when he refused she accused him of rape. Potipher was angered and sent him to prison.
In prison, Joseph, found favor with the prison guards. They put him in charge of all the other prisoners. While in prison, Joseph met two of Pharaoh's servants, whom he correctly interpreted dreams for. Joseph’s act of obedience got him promoted from prisoner to prime minister overnight.
Through all of rejection, betrayal, hardship, pain and suffering Joseph remained righteous and faithful. His integrity, obedience, patience, and ability to navigate adversity ascended him to the highest throne in the land. While in the pit God developed the God given gifts he put in him. Joseph hung on to the promises God gave him at a young age and did not lose sight of them.
Joseph’s journey from pit to palace was not a short one. Neither was it an easy one, in the end you see nothing but God’s glory. God did not promise us an easy life. On the contrary he warns us to expect the opposite. John 16:33 says “ I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” He not only warns us but gives us directions. In other words, the trials will come but He wants us to be courageous and trust that because he has overcome we have victory in his name.
He does, however, promise to go before us and to never leave us nor forsake us (Dueteronomy 31:8). He promises to give us a prosperous life and to never harm us ( Jeremiah 29:11). He promises to make beauty out of ashes. Lastly “Those who sow with tears reap songs of Joy (Psalms 126:5-6). Joseph’s story serves as a reminder to us of perseverance, steadfastness,faithfulness, and forgiveness. We can remain steadfast knowing that we have the victory, we can choose to forgive those who betray us because not everyone is meant to walk beside you in your calling. We can persevere because we know God keeps his promises and he is never late but an on time God.
I don’t know what pit you are in today but I want to remind you that even in the deepest and darkest pits God is at work. He will find you and meet you in your pain, prune you, stretch you, and make you into new wine. Pain hurts but it develops you and propels you closer to your calling.
Erika Rivera was born and raised in Queens, NY. She now lives in Virginia with her adorable 4 year old little boy, Aaron. Erika is a licensed cosmetologist but on her spare time you are mostly likely to find her creating memories with her son Aaron. She also has a heart for giving and serving. She serves in the children's ministry of her church and in other areas where needed. Erika recently decided to launch her first blog after years of putting it off. She hopes to be able to connect with other women going through all walks of life in need of hope and encouragement. Her goal is to share the hope, spiritual resiliency, and victory she found in Jesus after her divorce. Through her story and walk with God she hopes to encourage others to live a joyous and prosperous life even in the midst of adversity.