“Wow, that must have been tough!”
“It was tough,” he nodded, “but a great learning experience. I played with amazing musicians who helped me get started in the States.”
Many years ago, I took guitar lessons from a renowned jazz guitarist in Los Angeles. After one of my lessons, he recounted his beginnings when he arrived in the United States after emigrating from Japan. He had a small following in Japan but was virtually unknown outside his home country. He knew he had to pay his dues and one of the best avenues was to join the many talented musicians who perform in the New York subways. During those difficult days, he gained recognition and eventually met his wife who worked in a recording studio. They moved to Los Angeles and he eventually became an active member of the Southern California jazz scene. Lean times for sure, but he never regretted it. He gained skills that he would not have otherwise learned and he was tutored by many who are now giants in the jazz world.
The Bible provides several examples of great saints who endured lean times. Moses killed an Egyptian then had to flee Egypt and spent about 16 years in exile with the Midianites before God called him to return to Egypt and lead the Hebrews out of captivity and to the Promised Land. Joseph spent at least 12 years in prison for falsely being accused of a crime. Separated from their families and familiar surroundings, these were certainly lean times for both of them. Yet God was using these experiences for very specific purposes. In Moses’ case, he learned patience and leadership. For Joseph, God was preparing his character to become the second most powerful person in Egypt.
Until the time came to fulfill his dreams, the LORD tested Joseph’s character.
Psalms 105:19 (NLT)
I wonder if Moses and Joseph were content during these lean times? I know if I was in a similar position, I would be bitter and resentful. Perhaps I would even question God’s judgement for leading me into such a difficult trial. The Bible does not give us insight into what they were feeling but it does show us the dramatic and glorious results of these lean times.
Are you going through lean times? Marital problems? Child rearing difficulties? Financial problems? Problems with school or job? God does not promise that we will not have lean times, but He does promise to use these times to mold and transform us into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ. Like Moses and Joseph, we will behold God’s providence in our lives to bring glory and honor to His Kingdom on this earth and fulfill our dreams.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.