Trials are a Gift?

When Joseph's brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “It may be that Joseph will hate us and pay us back for all the evil that we did to him.” So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, “Your father gave this command before he died: ‘Say to Joseph, “Please forgive the transgression of your brothers and their sin, because they did evil to you.”’ And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.” Joseph wept when they spoke to him. His brothers also came and fell down before him and said, “Behold, we are your servants.” But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.” Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.
(Genesis 50:15-21, ESV)

Can I look back on everything, even those things that seem to bad to me, and thank God for them? Can I thank Him for struggles that have crippled me for years? Can I thank Him for things that so often discourage me and cause me to despair? Yes...I believe I can...

Many of my readers probably know about the context of the Biblical passage that I posted above.  Joseph was definitely put through things that he probably would have had a hard time imagining that he would one day thank God for them...but God did have a purpose in it.

While my struggles have never been as "bad" as Joseph's were...I definitely know that I've had my share of heartache and struggle.  Many of the struggles bear scars that will probably never go away while I'm on this earth...struggles that continuously cause me to doubt and become discouraged.  However...God's grace has been evident through it all...

God has helped me to even thank Him for giving me these things...they're a gift from Him...He has opened so many opportunities for ministry through my struggles.

At the time that I was enduring those struggles...could I have brought myself to thank Him?  Definitely not...but over time, as God helps us see His purposes in it, He enables us to be thankful.

So...if you're going through a struggle that you don't understand...and you are discouraged...take heart!  God doesn't waste a single trial!  You can trust that He is shaping you into the image of His Son through it!