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Turning Our Crisis into an Opportunity

Charles F. Stanley

Genesis Chapters 37-50

I. Introduction: How do you respond to a crisis? Too often, we fail to view suffering with an eternal perspective. At some point, we all will face hardships, losses, and painful circumstances. But our heavenly Father always has a purpose for adversity in our lives, and we can profit from it if we respond correctly. The Old Testament patriarch Joseph experienced difficulty, but he learned to react wisely. From his example, we can understand how to turn our crises into opportunities.

II. Seven Crises in the Life of Joseph

He was . . .

A. Hated by his brothers (Gen. 37:1-17): As Jacob’s favorite son, he made things worse by telling his brothers they would bow down to him one day.

B. Thrown in a pit (Gen. 37:18-24): Although helpless, he remembered God’s promise for the future. That meant the Lord would not allow him to die.

C. Sold into slavery by his brothers (Gen. 37:25-36): Instead of rebelling against his captors, Joseph took advantage of the situation and learned about the Egyptian culture and language, trusting that God had a purpose for allowing hardship.

D. Forced to work as a slave for Potiphar, Pharaoh’s chief bodyguard (Gen. 39:1-6): There he learned how an Egyptian family operated. Though as a Hebrew and a slave, Joseph was considered inferior, he gained knowledge about how to manage a large, prosperous household.

E. Targeted for Seduction by Potiphar’s wife (Gen. 39:7-20): Despite the cost, Joseph remained faithful to God. Through this crisis, Joseph discovered his own strength to resist temptation and demonstrated the depth of his devotion to the Lord.

F. Sent to prison unjustly for refusing the advances of Potiphar’s wife (Gen. 39:20-23): Even though Joseph was wronged, he was obedient to the authorities and treated others with kindness.

G. Asked to interpret Pharaoh’s dream (Gen. 41:15-16): When Joseph explained that famine would come after seven years of abundance, he advised Pharaoh to prepare by storing food from the years of plenty. In response, the ruler promoted him to second-in-command over all of Egypt and placed Joseph in charge of administering food storage. Why was Joseph ready for such a responsibility? He had used each crisis in his life as an opportunity to develop himself into a wiser, godlier person.

III. How to Turn a Crisis into an Opportunity

  • A. Trust that God is working everything in your life for your good (Rom. 8:28).
  • B. Believe that the heavenly Father is in control of everything.
  • C. Accept that the Lord’s ways are higher than ours (Isa. 55:8-9).
  • D. Refuse to make quick judgments in the midst of a crisis.
  • E. Focus on the Father instead of circumstances. Meditate on Scripture, which fuels your awareness of God’s unconditional love and comforting presence.
  • F. Avoid dwelling on the pain. It’s normal to feel the sting of loss and suffering, but instead of fixating on the grief, go to the ultimate Source of strength—God Himself.
  • G. Recall past crises and the opportunities that followed. (See Romans 8:29.)
  • H. Let go of anger immediately (Eph. 4:26).
  • I. Submit to God’s will.
  • J. Demonstrate a spirit of gratitude.
  • K. Determine to view the trial as a chance to see God at work.
  • L. Refuse to listen to unscriptural interpretations of the situation.
  • M. Remain in constant prayer, listening for the Father’s instructions. God will often use hardship to draw you closer to Himself.
  • N. Do not give in to fluctuating emotions.
  • O. Obey God and leave all the consequences to Him. You can’t go wrong by trusting Him with your entire life.

IV. CONCLUSION: Are you facing a crisis today? If so, the Lord wants to use it to develop your skills, strengthen your character, and draw you closer to Him. My prayer is that you will surrender to the grace and love of the Father, even in the midst of adversity. Then you will be able to turn each crisis of your life into an amazing opportunity to see Him work.

(Copyright 2011 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org. In Touch grants permission to print for personal use only.)