1. Panadol Christians
When Christians encounter trials in their lives, they often ask God to remove their troubles. They want pain relief. It’s like when they have a headache. They reach for the medicine cabinet and take two pills [Panadol or paracetemol] for pain relief. This is a natural response. But we are not natural persons. We are supernatural because the Holy Spirit lives in us. Whenever we encounter trials, we can petition God to remove our pain. However, there are times when He wants us to go through the pain with Him.
2. God is with us
In Isaiah 43:2, God said, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze”. There is no pain relief here. What you get is God’s promise to go through the pain with us. You will get wet. You will feel the heat. But you will not drown. Neither will you be burned.
3. Example of Joseph
We see this in Joseph’s life. God never relieved him of his pain. Thrown into a pit and later sold by his brothers to a caravan of Ismaelites, Joseph ended up as a slave in Potiphar’s house (Genesis 39). In Potiphar’s house, God didn’t help him escape. Instead, the Bible says in verse 2 that God was with Joseph and he became a successful and prosperous man [slave]. He was successful because the Lord made all that he did to flourish and succeed (verse 3). God helped him by making him favorable in the sight of his boss who could see that the Lord was with Joseph. The Lord blessed Joseph’s boss for Joseph’s sake (verse 5)
Just when life seemed to be getting better for Joseph, Potiphar’s wife took a liking to him and wanted him to sleep with her. He refused. One day, when Joseph was on duty, she made her advances. He fled from her but left behind his garment. She then accused him of attempted rape and he was thrown into prison.
When in prison, the Lord was with Joseph and showed him mercy and loving kindness [grace]. God gave him favour in the sight of the warden of the prison. The Lord was with him and made whatever Joseph did to prosper (verses 21,23)
4. Success doesn’t depend on situation
Joseph’s story reminds us that it is better to have God with us than to have him relieve us of pain in our situation. Our success does not depend on our situation but on whether God is with us. When God is with us, we are successful regardless of our circumstances.
5. In prison but not imprisoned
From Joseph, we also learn that we can be in prison and not be imprisoned by negative thoughts because God is with us whether we are in the pit or in the palace. There are times we feel like we are ‘in prison’, we feel trapped in our circumstances. There seems to be no way out. And things aren’t changing.
When you feel trapped, believe that in Christ you are ‘free’. You are not a slave of your circumstances. God is in your ‘prison’. When God is with you, you will overcome your circumstances not by your own strength but by His grace [God working in your midst to bring about what you can’t do on your own].
God’s mercy and kindness can reach the darkest jail ‘cell’ [including the cells in our body]. God protects, promotes and provides for our need for security, recognition and healing. Reach for God when no one else can reach you.
6. God never leaves us
Like Joseph, let’s learn that when we are down, God is with us. When we are up, God is with us. When we are getting along in life, God is with us. He never leaves us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). God never gives up on us. Neither should we give up on Him.