When Joseph was young, he had a dream of becoming a great leader and shared this dream with his brothers. But he was already his father’s favorite son, so Joseph’s brothers became very jealous of him. They sold him into slavery in Egypt, and told their father that Joseph had died. One day, his master’s wife lied to her husband, saying that Joseph had tried to sleep with her. Because of this, Joseph was thrown into prison.
At that point in his life, Joseph must have been feeling a little bit of stress. But through his story, we get to see an example of what it looks like to be fragile on the outside, but powerful on the inside because of what God deposits in us.
Joseph’s story didn’t end with a dungeon. While he was in prison, Joseph discovered that God had given him a gift for interpreting dreams. Two years later, Pharaoh, the leader of the nation of Egypt, had a dream and heard about Joseph’s interpretations. After he proved himself to Pharaoh, Joseph became a leader over Egypt. During this time, he prepared the nation for a long famine. When he saw his brothers many years later during this famine, he forgave them and showed them great kindness, despite what they had done to him. Because of the stress she had endured, Joseph was able to feed not only the nation he led, but also the brothers who hurt him in the first place. (You can read about Joseph’s story in more detail in Genesis 37-50.)
Stress isn’t pleasant, but it can be what activates us to accomplish great things with our lives. What happens to us on the outside can begin cracking open what God has placed on the inside so that He can shine through us. God allows stress so that we can be redirected or motivated to act. No matter how bad it gets, the stress is temporary; it is causing the treasure of God in you to leak out!
Joseph was a vessel with a dream in him to become a great leader, but he had to lose a few things before he saw that dream become a reality. All the stresses in Joseph’s life led to his purpose being fulfilled. Know that your blessing is underneath the stress you are feeling. Use your faith in God to fuel you to get through your circumstances and situations. Without stress we won’t grow and will die in our slumber, but with our faith full and strong, we will have success even in the stress.
Watch my teaching on The Success of Stress.