We will all face our own times of trouble. Peter tells us that we should not be surprised when testing and trials come (1 Peter4:12), and James encourages us to approach our trials with joy knowing that trials and temptations produce endurance (James 1:2). Whether they be personal, family, ministry, or other in nature, they will come, and we ought to be ready.
In Genesis chapter 26, Isaac experiences his own difficulty, a famine. In the first five verses, we are reminded of 4 major truths about facing difficulties in life:
1. We have to experience our own “famines"
It’s specifically said in verse 1 that “there was a famine in the land, besides the former famine that was in the days of Abraham.” The writer is making clear that Isaac is about to experience something that is not new to people, but new for him. We should, and can, learn from the sufferings and experiences of others, but God knows that there’s no teacher quite like experience.
2. We need to go to God
In verse two, the Lord appears to Isaac and says:
”Do not go down to Egypt; dwell in the land of which I shall tell you."
If you’re familiar with Bible symbolism, you’ve probably heard that Egypt often depicts the world and it’s system, which are against God and His ways. Just as He tells Isaac to trust Him, rather than Egypt, and to go where He says, rather than what would make sense, God also tells us to go to Him in times of difficulty.
3. Our trials will bless us
God gives Isaac a promise that if he would go into the land that He told him, He would bless him and his offspring. Similarly, when we use our trials as a time to act in faith towards God, He promises that our trials will turn into blessings (James 1:2).
4. Our trials will bless others
In addition to blessing himself, God reminds Isaac that He doesn’t bless people in a box. He blesses us so that we may in turn be a blessing. In Isaac’s case, it means the lineage that would bring the Savior of the world. In our situations it could mean a new empathy or increased character that God will use. Or it could mean a testimony that will be shared in the future or an example set for other believers. God has many uses for our trials, and it’s important to remember that He has a much bigger picture in mind than just ourselves.
If you are going through a trial of ministry, family, personal wellbeing, finances, etc. I hope you take God’s Word to heart and press on knowing that He is good.