Summary: A successful person will know how to handle the bad time as well as the good time. This is a very practical post on how to manage yourself in the tough tough times and good times or success and failure.
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Introduction: Life is a mixture of ups and downs, good times and bad times, victories and failures. As life proceeds, we all have our own share of success and failures. It is a fact that people rejoice in their good times, but find it difficult to navigate through the tough times. Here is the key, a successful person will know how to handle the bad time as well as the good time.
When we last left Joseph, he was serving out a sentence for a crime he didn’t’ commit in a place where the sun never shines, the dungeon for the king’s prisoners. Joseph is going through a tough time. So, the first question I want to answer is:
1. Navigating the tough times.
How to navigate through a tough time? Now, it has been two years since Joseph had told the royal cupbearer who spent some time in jail as well to remember me when it is well with you. Only three days after Joseph made this request, the cupbearer was released and restored to his former position serving Pharaoh directly. But he forgot about his former cell mate, who had been so helpful. It is so funny how friends forget us when they do not need any more favors.
When you are going through a tough time, you will come across situations where the people who you count upon will not stand for you.
a. Don’t get bitter with people.
When people let you down, turn it over to God without vengeance. Count on the Lord to handle the cupbearers in your life – the people who take but don’t give back, who forget you, who abandon you, who break their promises to you. It’s God’s job to deal with the cupbearers of your past. It’s your job to be faithful to a God who will not forget you.
Joke on Revenge: A young boy in Korea was a houseboy for some American soldiers. Sometimes they thought it was funny to play harmless jokes on him. They would tease him. They would tie his shoe strings together. They would lock him out of the house.
Eventually they realized that their practical jokes were not viewed as funny by the boy so they apologized. He said, “That’s okay, I will stop spitting in your soup now.”
Now, Joseph faces what looks like a non-ending trip to death in a foreign dungeon. Each day was nothing more than a monotonous, slow-moving grind, to be repeated the next day. It must have looked like nothing was ever going to change. He must have felt like his whole life was stuck.
It is here, in the place of continued suffering, that our faith is attacked with doubts, anger, confusion, loneliness, and sorrow. Suffering always changes us, but not necessarily for the better. In his book, ‘A Grace Disguised,’ Gerald Sittser, who lost his wife, his mother, and a daughter in a head-on collision, writes about the struggle that happens to us all in our losses: “Loss creates a barren present, as if one were sailing on a vast sea of nothingness. They find themselves living in a barren present that is empty of meaning.” Joseph was there, in that empty middle ground, going nowhere. But he clung to a single truth that kept him. It is inferred in every word he speaks, every action he undertakes.
b. Rely on God.
When nothing seems to change, count on God’s purposes without panic.
Affliction is always work for the better for the child of God. That is the truth that is repeated throughout pages of Scripture. Even though it looks like nothing is happening, like nothing will ever change, circumstances are being aligned and you are being refined by sufferings.
1 Peter 4:12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. Your suffering, your losses, your heartaches are not a surprise, they’re a plan. They’re not meaningless or purposeless. They are part of God’s refining process. He’s distilling your life and designing your circumstances. Pain, properly handled, can shape your life for greatness. This is the staying power of Godly character during the test.
c. Be faithful in little things.
Luke 16:10 Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much.
In a tough time, do what you can the best. While Joseph was in the prison, not knowing what is the future, he served in the prison. He was in-charge of the entire affairs of the prison. He was helping people. He helped interpret the dream regarding the cup bearer and the baker.
Friends, if things are not going well with you. Don’t get bitter. Do what you can the best.