Have you ever asked yourself this question: Is this really God’s best for me? It may relate to a situation or relationship or a thing that makes you wonder what in the world God is doing. I have asked this question – more than once and fairly recently.
When we ask this question we betray the fact that we have exchanged the biblical perspective for a worldly one. We betray this by defining “God’s best” as “What makes me happy and comfortable.” It seems to us that if we are experiencing challenging or difficult afflictions, these cannot be part of God’s best for us. On the other hand, if all is going relatively well, then we are convinced that this is God’s best.
A quick look into the life of Joseph in Genesis 39 dispels this notion. You know the broad story – young man rejected by his brothers is sold into slavery, undergoes prison, and rises to a position of power in Egypt which enables him to save the very people who rejected him. In Joseph we see a shadow of Christ.
As Genesis 39 opens, Joseph is in the humiliating position of being sold as a slave. In the space of a few verses, Joseph rises to the position of the attendant of his master. Have you ever wondered about the time frame of those few verses? How long does it take for a master to notice that everything a slave does prospers – months, years? But through that whole time the Lord was with him, that is, Joseph lived in the gracious favor of the Lord. Sometimes we forget that even after Joseph was promoted, he was still a slave, and yet this was God’s best for him
Being falsely accused Joseph is sent to prison. The text tells us again that the Lord was with him and that he found favor in the eyes of the prison warden. How long did that take – months, years? Sometimes we forget that even after Joseph was given responsibility in the prison, he was still a prisoner, and yet this was God’s best for him.
Did Joseph ever ask, Is this really God’s best for me? I don’t know but, if so, it is not recorded. God’s best is designed to produce character, holiness and faithfulness though we often see God’s best as producing health, happiness and comfort for us. Sometimes they graciously come together and God’s design produces health, happiness and comfort in addition to character, holiness and faithfulness. However, this is not always the case. Part of living the glory of the grind is having the right perspective on what constitutes God’s best. It may be challenging, it may be difficult, it may last a while, but it is still the best.