Updated: Aug 29
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
Destined For Greatness
The biblical account of Joseph's life leaves no speculation as to the divine hand of God upon his life. Joseph was conceived under the favor that God had for his mother, Rachel (Gen. 30:22-24). This favor, although unmerited, rested upon his father, who unwisely demonstrated this in front of his other sons (Gen. 37:3). Jealousy ensued and caused Joseph to be sold into slavery by his brothers instead of their murderous plot to kill him. Joseph's fate had now become his fortune. What Joseph's brothers thought would kill him turned out to be the experience that God would use to elevate Joseph to positions of prominence and power.
Throughout his enslaved period, God ensured Joseph was protected, provided for, and looked upon with prestige. Joseph's experiences strengthened his resolve and demonstrated God's working power in his life, which allowed him to navigate under extreme circumstances to lead God's people into His promises. Those destined for greatness must show resolve through the process of ascension. No matter what conditions one faces, it is paramount to approach them with an attitude of patience and appreciation, having faith that we will overcome.
In His infinite wisdom, God allows situations to arise in our lives to challenge, focus, and shift us into positions of greatness for His glory! We have to believe what He says in his word, "Be still and know, I am God (Ps. 46:10)", knowing that what is for us has already been planned, despite the seemingly rocky road which precedes us.
Refined By Fire
Joseph's life attests to faithful perseverance amid chaos. His betrayal experiences by his brothers (Gen. 37:26-28) and Potiphar's wife (Gen.39:7-8) could have left him defeated. Joseph did not allow his grim situations to define him but used them to glorify God. It was during adversity that Joseph prevailed, not because of his talents or abilities – but because of the divine protection of God (Gen. 39:2, 21).
Joseph understood that he would not be where he was with the Lord being there to guide every course of his life. He understood that the difficulties he endured was not for him but to be a blessing to all he encountered. Joseph's ability to prosper under pressure propels the idea of real success as a leader is not how we respond when things are going good, but how we respond while suffering (Gen. 39:20-23). In the most challenging circumstances, Joseph's character proved that God had empowered him to withstand the heat into which he was thrust and given him the ability to succeed despite the difficulty.
God has enabled every blood-washed believer with the same protection in the provision of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit "...seals us until the day of redemption (Eph. 4:30), protecting us from all that may try to detract from the assignment God has set before us. Whatever the situation may be, godly leaders understand that challenges are an opportunity for God to get the glory - if we are steadfast. Knowing that whatever fires God places us in, he can control the temperature and time to bring us out as pure gold.
Positioned For Glory
Joseph's life is a perfect example of how we prosper as a leader if we place ourselves under his divine control. Throughout all of Joseph's misfortune, God was able to show himself not only to Joseph but to all who was attached to his life. Despite each setback, Joseph was able to enhance the lives of all he encountered. Potiphar was able to prosper as a result of this relationship (Gen. 39:5). Joseph's family was sustained and preserved because of Joseph's acclaim to power and position (Gen. 41:47-48; 53-54).
Joseph's life gives a foreshadowing of Jesus as being chosen by God - to be betrayed by those he loved, to suffer and endure a great deal, to ensure others can receive the abundant blessings set aside for them. Joseph came to understand his plight in life. His final statement in Genesis 50:20, "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives," attest to the times in the life of a believer where we will endure not for ourselves, but the benefit of others.
It is in these times that we must draw close to God and trust His outcome because he sees a lot better from His position than ours. Like Joseph, leadership has a cost! Understanding the power that propels us, the purpose prescribed for us, and his plan laid out for us will enable us to be positioned for success.
"Whatever the situation may be, godly leaders understand that challenges are an opportunity for God to get the glory - if we are steadfast."
Dr. Stephone A. Berry is an Associate Minister at Christian Faith Fellowship in Columbia, South Carolina. He graduated with a Master of Divinity in Ministry Studies and earned a Doctorate of Ministerial Leadership from Columbia International University.