21 But the Lord was with Joseph and extended kindness to him, and gave him favor in the sight of the chief jailer. (Genesis 39:21 NASB)
Some time ago I wrote an article about how God was talking to me through moving words from our web page.
As it is explained in the article, my understanding is that God was telling me to fast for twenty days, which I did. I was then instructed to rest for the following twenty (20) days and fast again for another 20 days. At the beginning, I did not understand why, but later I realized that it was through that fasting which prevented a major disaster in my family.
It happened just a few days after I had finished my last 20 days fast when one Friday afternoon, my wife felt the need to pray for a very sick person. After she had finished praying for her, she came home and while sitting on the bed, she started screaming out of pain in her leg.
I happened to be there with her, as I was on vacation, when all of sudden, I saw that her leg was bent inwards in a direction that it should not be bent in. So we started praying for God’s healing with the Our Father prayer and so in a matter of a minute or so, her leg was straight again. I was like, “What is this?”
But the situation did not end there. She later started feeling really bad and displayed odd behavior, and that afternoon I decided to take her to a local psychologist for medical attention. Things went from bad to worse with her mentally, so I decided to take her to the hospital. There, they found out that she was having problems with insomnia, as she was not getting enough sleep for a while.
The doctors decided to put her to sleep for about 2 to 3 days so that she could recover, and while she was at the hospital, I started having bad feelings as if something really bad was going to happen to her. As a result, my level of stress increased dramatically.
Thankfully, a few days later, I was called from the hospital with the news that she was okay to go home, which I did the very same day. The following day, which was a Saturday, I decided to do what I usually do on Saturdays when all of sudden, I started feeling kidney stones pain.
It was so bad that I had to go to a local walk-in-clinic. After going through a series of exams and ultrasounds, the doctors decided that the best option was to go to the main hospital for an emergency observation since the local clinic did not have all the machines in operation. According to their studies, one of my kidneys was very swollen. They tried giving me pain killers, but it did not seem to help.
That same night at the hospital, I went through many tests and to make a long story short, I ended up in male surgical room.
In three days period, thanks be to God I was discharged.
And now while home, one morning my children asked me why so many bad things happen in our family if we spent most of the time praying to God?
Out of fear, they even suggested that maybe we are a target of the devil because of our constant prayer to God and that we should consider reducing the time of prayers we dedicate to Him.
And honestly speaking, I sympathized with them and I understood how many people get to lose their faith in God when bad things start happening in their lives.
The reasoning behind it is that, what will people think about God if the same people who are constantly praying to Him are the same ones going through so many problems?! Isn’t God supposed to protect them from these attacks?
So it is clear that many of us with little faith may say, “What sense does it make praying to God if you will be under constant attack from the devil, just like those who pray and are faithful?”
So I said; children, I understand your frustration, but being a prayerful person doesn’t make you exempt from evil attacks; being a prayerful person doesn’t free you from problems, but we must trust God in all situations.
Just as the Scriptures tell us in Psalm 34:19 NRSV saying; “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord rescues them from them all”, so will God rescue us as well and in fact, He has been doing so since I can remember.
I then remembered how the Bible tells us a story about a certain man in the land of Uz whose name was Job; and that man was blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil (Job 1), was victim of evil attacks, where even his own friends accused him of sinning before God.
And here is another interesting story. It is the story about a young man whose name was Joseph. (Genesis 37-50). In (Genesis 37:1-11 NLT) the Bible recounts about Joseph’s relationship with his father and how he was treated by his own brothers as it says:
1 So Jacob settled again in the land of Canaan, where his father had lived as a foreigner.
2 This is the account of Jacob and his family. When Joseph was seventeen years old, he often tended his father’s flocks. He worked for his half-brothers, the sons of his father’s wives Bilhah and Zilpah. But Joseph reported to his father some of the bad things his brothers were doing.
3 Jacob loved Joseph more than any of his other children because Joseph had been born to him in his old age. So one day Jacob had a special gift made for Joseph—a beautiful robe. 4 But his brothers hated Joseph because their father loved him more than the rest of them. They couldn’t say a kind word to him.
(5-7) One night Joseph had a dream, and when he told his brothers about it, they hated him more than ever. “Listen to this dream,” he said. “We were out in the field, tying up bundles of grain. Suddenly my bundle stood up, and your bundles all gathered around and bowed low before mine!”
8 His brothers responded, “So you think you will be our king, do you? Do you actually think you will reign over us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dreams and the way he talked about them.
9 Soon Joseph had another dream, and again he told his brothers about it. “Listen, I have had another dream,” he said. “The sun, moon, and eleven stars bowed low before me!” 10 This time he told the dream to his father as well as to his brothers, but his father scolded him. “What kind of dream is that?” he asked. “Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow to the ground before you?” 11 But while his brothers were jealous of Joseph, his father wondered what the dreams meant.
As you may see it in the above verses (Gen 37: 1-11), Joseph probably thought he would actually become his brother’s leader; but what he did not know is how he would get there.
The story goes on to tell how he was thrown into the pit by his own brothers and then sold as a slave in Egypt where he was put in prison for a crime he did not commit. And the Bible comes on and says; “but God was with him.” (Genesis 39:21 NASB)
- How can that be? Many may ask;
- How can you say God was with him after all the tragedies he went through?
You see, many of us in Joseph’s place may say, why do I care anyway?
But Joseph, despite all the sufferings he went through, he remained faithful to God all the time, even when that beautiful woman tempted him.
The point I am trying to make here is that, we need to learn how to see the positive in all things. Yes many may ask, if the people who constantly pray to God are suffering, why should I dedicate my time to Him?
When new people in faith see such situations, it may cause them to think that God Himself is causing the believer to depart from Him.
Well, they may say that; but what about seeing it in this way; despite the attacks that prayerful people are going through, they still remain faithful to God. Isn’t that amazing? And the reason is that, deep inside their hearts, they know for certain that this suffering is only temporary.
And we also know that bad things may happen to good people over and over, and that does not necessarily mean that they have sinned before God. What we need to understand is that God is ultimately the one in charge. We may not understand why the bad things are happening, but we must keep our faith in Him all the time.
Just as it is written in the book of (Daniel 3:18) saying; “But even if He (God) doesn’t deliver us from the furnace, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.”
In (John 16:33 NLT), it is written, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
And finally, Revelation 12:17 tells us, “Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring - those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus.”
It is clear then that this war is not between us, “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12 NLT)
And if we are not careful enough, we may witness how those same evil rulers are able to infiltrate and manipulate our lives to the point of creating division among us with our loved ones.
Merciful and Compassionate God, in Ephesians 6:12 you said that we were not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
With your mercy, bless us with a discerning and prayerful heart so that we may be able to see with precision how the enemy, with his evil ways, is always trying to entice hate among our brethren, in Jesus Name, Amen.