Joseph’s father, Jacob, doted on him. He favored Joseph over all his other children and even made him a special coat.
But one day Joseph’s brothers got so tired of him that they decided to kill him. Reason prevailed, however, and they chose instead to sell him as a slave to a caravan of traders that was passing by.
The traders took Joseph to Egypt, where they sold him to Potiphar, who was the head of Pharaoh’s bodyguard. And because Joseph was a hard worker and full of integrity, it wasn’t long before he was running Potiphar’s estate.
Meanwhile, Potiphar’s wife tried repeatedly to seduce Joseph. He resisted her advances, but one day she falsely accused him of rape. He was sent to prison, which no doubt seemed like the worst thing of all.
Sitting there in a prison cell, Joseph easily could have thought, “Serving God didn’t work out so well, did it? I’m honest. I work hard. I didn’t give in to the advances of that woman, and where did it get me? In prison!”
But God had a plan for him. He was getting him ready for the future. Psalm 105 gives us this detail about Joseph: “They hurt his feet with fetters, he was laid in irons” (verse 18 NKJV). A different translation emerges from the original Hebrew, which gives us additional insight. It says, “As he was a laid in iron, iron entered his soul.”
Although Joseph was in the worst circumstances, he was toughening up on the inside. God was getting Joseph ready for something big.
You may be going through a time of trial so that you will get stronger, so that iron will enter your soul. The purpose of trials is to make us stronger spiritually—so that we’ll develop spiritual toughness.