In The Root of the Righteous, A. W. Tozer wrote, “It is doubtful whether God can bless a man greatly until he has hurt him deeply.”

God is smart. He’ll tell you what’s ahead, but he won’t tell you how you’re going to get there. He gave Joseph a dream where he saw sheaths of wheat in the field bow before his sheath. God showed him what was going to happen but never showed him how he was going to get there. Let’s be real. If God had showed him the process, it wouldn’t have been a dream. It would have been a nightmare.

Let me tell you the three things that God did to prepare Joseph to lead and be second-in-command of a country.

1. He was going to be betrayed by the closest people in his life.

2. He was going to be accused of something, and he couldn’t defend himself.

3. Promises were going to be made to him, and promises were going to be broken.

If God can wound you deeply in your pride and self-sufficiency, he can begin to use you greatly. Here’s two ways that happens.

First, nobody heard Joseph’s side of the story except those of us who are reading it thousands of years later. That’s amazing because we all want to defend ourselves, react from our hurt pride, take control of the situation. Sometimes the greatest lesson that God teaches you in this hard school is to keep your mouth shut. Stop talking about it to every friend who will listen; get off of social media; let God defend you. Genesis 30:33 is a verse that I’ve lived by, and it says, “My honesty will answer for me later.” Most times, I want my honesty to answer for me now, but the Bible says later.

Second, difficulty is not necessarily directional. This is what I mean: Just because it’s difficult doesn’t mean that God’s will is for you to move on. It’s poor providence that you’re supposed to move somewhere else just because where you’re at right now is hard. What if difficulties are God deepening something in us? What if God himself has led you to that difficult place? If we’re serious about seeing what God has for us, we will wait in the difficulties, with our wounds, for him teach his lessons to us.