In almost every word of our study of Joseph so far, beginning in chapter 37, Joseph has been in a trial (a trial being an unfavorable situation that a person has been thrust into through no fault of their own). It is not until you get to Genesis 41:14 that Joseph’s situation turns around and he is out of his long season (i.e., 13 years) of testing. In the first part of Genesis 41, Joseph was brought out of prison (cf. vs 14), and he has interpreted the dream of Pharoah (cf. vs. 25). The meaning of the dream was that Egypt and the surrounding nations were going to experience seven years of plentiful food harvest, and then seven years of famine (cf. 41:26-32, 57). It is Joseph’s coming out of his long trial (cf. vs. 14) that allows us to understand what the trials of life prepare believers for.

First, the trials of life prepare believers to be a better witness for God (cf. 41:37-39). Joseph was a good witness at the age of 17 to his family (cf. Gen. 30). Now Joseph, at the age of 30 (cf. 41:46), has the opportunity to be a witness to Egypt and to many other nations because other nations will come to buy grain from Egypt as the seven years of famine set in (cf. 41:57). Joseph’s witness for God influences Pharoah immediately because Pharoah wants “a man in whom the Spirit of God is” (vs. 38), meaning a man like Joseph. You see, Pharaoh needed this kind of man, a man of God, because that man would be over the gathering of the food during the seven years of plenty, and it was Joseph’s testimony that allowed Pharoah to see that (cf. 41:33). Our trials make us a greater witness and give us greater opportunities to serve God.

Sampson Ridenour is the associate pastor at Indiana Avenue Baptist Church.