“Until the time came to fulfill his dreams, the Lord tested Joseph’s character.” (Psalm 105:19 NLT)
In Part 1, we talked about the first half of Psalm 105:19. So today, let’s talk about the second half that says, “…the Lord TESTED Joseph’s character.” Some translations say “the Lord: tried, refined and proved, Joseph’s character.” Remember, it took 22 years for Joseph to see his dream fulfilled. Like I said, “There is always TIME between the dream and the fulfillment of the dream.” Joseph was in a test, he was being refined. Every time his brothers mistreated him, and every time he was tossed in jail, or accused of things he didn’t do, it was a test. Actually, a bunch of tests.
Why all the testing and refining? Here’s a true story that answers the question. I love motorcycles, I always have. When I turned 16 I immediately got my car license… on my SECOND attempt. I aced the written test but failed the driving test. The DPS officer was riding with me and we ended up on a narrow street. Up ahead I saw trouble. On the right there was a big metal garbage can in the street, and on the left a HUGE Texas-size pothole. I had to hit one of them, I chose the pothole. And that’s what failed me. I was devastated, embarrassed, and felt like a failure. I went to a different DPS location and got my license. However, I still didn’t have my motorcycle license, which is what I wanted. Guess what DPS office (for motorcycles) was the nearest in my area? The same one where I failed. For the next 15 years I never got my license due to my fear of failing that test. But, someone gave me a motorcycle, and a good friend of mine said he would help me. So I decided to go for it. I aced the test with a 97.
OK, how is that an answer to, “Why all the testing and refining?” Pretend YOU are God, and you have a great plan for me to preach and have gigantic crusades worldwide. Stage ONE. So, you give me a dream when I turned 16. As God, you would know everything I needed to accomplish that dream. Things like courage, perseverance, confidence, patience, love, being fearless, etc. After the dream, you watched me buckle when I failed my driving TEST. So, you begin helping me develop courage and perseverance as I walked through life. How? Troubles. Troubles that will stretch me spiritually but not break me. Several years go by and I’ve grown in courage and perseverance but I am still afraid to get my motorcycle license. More TESTING, more trouble, more small victories, more TESTING, more growth, more maturity, a motorcycle, and a friend to help me. You get the idea right? Fifteen years of this and I finally have enough fearless confidence to get that license! That’s when you, as God, say, “Right on schedule! On with Stage TWO!”
Is all that necessary? Well, if you meant it when you asked Jesus into your heart, and you surrendered your life to Him, it’s absolutely necessary…. and it’s worth it. “And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,” (Heb 12:1 NIV)
Pastor Kevin Kinchen