Paul was starving, shipwrecked, imprisoned, stoned, beaten and left for dead (see 2 Corinthians 11). He was on the verge of an emotional breakdown so that he almost lost his mind and “despaired even of life” (see 2 Corinthians 1:8). Paul’s life was full of hardships.
But what made the difference was that Paul brought these hardships to God. He came to his Lord daily because in the pressures of the world and in the weakness of his flesh, he knew he could not stand alone. He focused on Christ, and it was Christ who caused him to stay in the fight and to stay encouraged.
This is why he was able to say and encourage others to “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for [us] in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18, NIV). Paul knew from past experience the faithfulness of God to work good from each situation. His hope was in the Lord—not in his circumstances, not whether he had a good day or a bad one, not in being with the right people or difficult people.
In Genesis 37–39, we see this is the same way that Joseph lived. Although it seemed that time and time again things in his life just seemed to go wrong, we never hear Joseph complaining or grumbling. Why? Because of two reasons: First, he had faith in God—a faith that affected his perspective toward suffering. And the second reason is that God was with Joseph. All throughout the story of his life, we are told, “the LORD was with Joseph” (see Genesis 39:3, 21, 23).