“One who gains strength by overcoming obstacles possesses the only strength which can overcome adversity.” – Albert Schweitzer

Did you know that pain, when properly handled, may likely shape a life for greatness? History is replete with stories of those whose struggles and scars formed the foundation for their remarkable achievements. In fact, some folks would attest that it was because of their hardship they gained what they needed to achieve greatness.

For a long time in my life, I wrestled with that concept; for it seemed to be a cruel philosophy. Why should anyone need to suffer? What does it mean – “There are benefits that come only through struggles?” I have now come full circle…even perhaps agree with A. W. Tozer, who said, “It is doubtful whether God can bless a man greatly until He has hurt him deeply.”

I could mention numerous biblical examples, but certainly no life evidences this truth more clearly than the life of Joseph. His earlier experiences were somber. He may have been born a favored son, but his life was filled with disappointment, mistreatment and rejection; as he faced fear, false accusations, slavery and abandonment.

Remember, when Joseph in prison told the cup-bearer two years earlier, “Now that I’ve told you the meaning of your dream, don’t forget me. Keep me in mind when things go well with you, and when you get promoted. Please do me the kindness of mentioning me to Pharaoh and get me out of this place. Remember me.” But the cup-bearer failed to remember or mention Joseph.

Only three days after Joseph said this, the man was released and restored to his former position as chief cup-bearer to Pharaoh. He promptly forgot all about his days in the dungeon, as well as, his cell mate, Joseph.  Two full years passed after that event—a long time to be forgotten. We may find ourselves asking, “After all Joseph had been through, why would something like this happen?” He had been obedient to God and was earlier promoted because “God was with him.”

The answer is that God was still at work in his life.  So, if we’re dealing with any kind of pain, even thru this holiday season, maybe the same “Joseph experience” is true for you and me today…He is still working in us for good

“When you have God, you quickly understand there’s nothing you can’t overcome.” – Nikki Haley