Saturday, June 11, 2011

God's Forge and Writing

I was reading through Psalms this week and ran across this verse: “Until the time came to fulfill his dreams, the Lord tested Joseph’s character.” Psalm 105:19. We all know how Joseph’s story ends (he becomes second in command and reunites with his family), but I had never thought about all those years of his life that pass within the thirty seconds it takes to read in Genesis.

Here is a quick synopsis: Joseph was betrayed by his family and sold into slavery. While in Egypt, he served as a slave. He was tempted. He was lied about and unjustly imprisoned. Then he watched others released from prison while he languished in that dark place for years.

As I thought about Joseph more, I put myself in his place: the heartache brought on by the betrayal of his brothers. The fear he might have had as he was handed over to the merchants for gold. Perhaps discouragement, yet a choice to make the best of things as he took his place as a slave in Potipher’s home. The split second decision to run when Potipher’s wife tried to seduce him. The disbelief when Potipher believed his wife’s lies about him. Then the kicker: thrown into prison for doing nothing wrong.

Joseph sat in that prison for years. He was totally surrounded by darkness, both physically and emotionally (at least I would be). All he has known in his life are lies, betrayal, and hardship. He sits there day in and day out, facing a bleak existence. Perhaps he tries to hold onto the promised visions he’d had that God was going to do something great with his life, but he can’t see how that’s going to happen now as he stares at those dark dungeon walls.

Even darker thoughts may have invaded Joseph’s mind. Should he have given in to Potipher’s wife? He wouldn’t be here now if he had. Or could God be trusted? Why hadn’t God kept his promise? Why had God allowed him to be imprisoned? Maybe jealousy tempted him as he watched Pharoh’s cup-bearer leave prison. The deep, painful depression as he waits for the cup-bearer to keep his word and get Joseph out of prison, only to have days turn into weeks turn into months.

Until the time came…. God tested Joseph’s character.

I feel like I’m in God’s forge right now. When I picture a forge, I see a dark room filled with heat, sweat and pain. I see a hammer slamming down on a heated piece of metal. It takes the heat, sweat, and pain to turn ordinary metal into something extraordinary and useful. But the process can feel dark and painful.

When I read the verse above this week, things clicked for me. I put my name in that verse: “Until the time came to fulfill her dreams, the Lord tested Morgan’s character.” Yikes!

Now unlike Joseph’s dreams (which were prophetic and a promise from God), my dreams are simply aspirations of mine. I am a writer. And like most writers, I would like to be published. But is that God’s plan for my life? Is my “writing in the dark” a time when God is testing my character?

I think so.

I do not know what kind of future God is preparing me for (he certainly has not promised me a book contract). But I do know that he considers my faith “more precious than gold” (1 Peter 1:7). So into the forge I go so God can shape me into the woman I need to be.


  1. Great post!

    My pastor likes to say, "You will go through the wilderness. Every Christian goes through the wilderness." He's preaching on David's years of running from Saul right now.

    This theme is played out over and over in Scripture. Men are tested and their faith grows and their usefulness to the kingdom grows.

    Thanks for the reminder!

  2. Thanks guys :) I want to be the right kind of person before God lets me be published (if that's His will). But that's a scary prayer!

  3. Fantastic post. We all need to remember that it's not about the writing and it's not even about us, it's about HIM and HIS WILL! It's also about the perfect timing of when our writing is needed. God had Joseph born at the right time and kidnapped at the right time so that he would be instrumental in helping his family at the right time. God's timing is an amazing orchestration!

    We are born at just the right time and God inspires us to write at the "write" time to help others. It's really supernatural and I'm in awe of how His timing is so perfect. If only I could really, really feel it when my writing is rejected! :-)

  4. Thank you for your commentary. You mentioned that you were being forged by God. Could you share what that means? Do you mean personal trials? Lessons you have learned? - E.J. Apostrophe

  5. Hey EJ!
    To write about the personal trials and lessons that have come through my life would take another post lol. To sum it all up, God has used cancer scares, almost losing a child, 9 mos of unemployment which left us with nothing while living in my mother's basement, multiple shots fired by the churches my husband ministered at and most recently, my husband was fired (no reason given), leaving us feeling beaten and left on the side of the road.

    Through all of that, God stripped me down to nothing, heated me through, scrapped off the dross (its amazing the sin issues that surface when under fire) and reformed me. Then He did it again and again.

    I am not the woman I was 5 years ago, 1 year ago, and 2 months ago. I have fought against bitterness, fear, faithlessness, and the urge to completely give up and walk away. But God held me up. He gave me faith. He carried me when I could not walk anymore.

    When Paul talks about being a drink offering poured out on others, that is what I am. Through my brokenness I am able to reach more people than I ever could have whole. And that's because of God, not me :)

  6. I've gotten behind on reading the blogs here, but I needed this one this week, instead of a week and a half ago when you posted it. Thanks for the encouragement. And great insight on Joseph.