And Joseph’s master took him and put him into the prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined, and he was there in prison. But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. Genesis 39:20-21
Finding evidence of God’s presence is difficult when life appears to have fallen apart. Joseph was tricked by Potiphar’s wife. Accused of rape, he had to stand before his master. The end result was imprisonment. But the writer of Genesis still said that the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love. Aren’t you asking the questions so many ask? ‘If the Lord was really with Joseph, why didn’t He spare him from prison? Why didn’t He expose the scheme of Potiphar’s wife?’ And, why does God allow bad things to happen to me?’
The problem is that I expect to live a different life from Jesus. His birth was shadowed by a cross and so is mine. He said so. ‘You must pick up your cross and follow me.’ Was God with Jesus as He was with Joseph? Absolutely. He walked His Son through all His afflictions and stayed with Him all the way to the cross. He sent angels to minister to Him. He sent handpicked disciples to help carry the burden of His mission. But He still had to face Calvary because that was His calling.
So how was the Lord with Joseph? Potiphar must have doubted his wife’s story because the punishment for rape was death yet Joseph was sentenced to prison instead. And he was assigned to the king’s prison, a less severe environment. Did Joseph see evidence of God’s presence? I’m confident he had to battle for his faith just as I have to battle for mine.
I don’t care for the phrase ‘count your blessings’ because those who refuse to confront suffering on a deep level often recite it. It’s their method of denial. So let me re- phrase it. When life seems to fall apart and it would appear that God has abandoned me, there are evidences that the Lord is with me. I must ask God to help me see them. If I remember that I have taken up a cross to follow Jesus, then I won’t expect God to prevent hardship. I will know that what appears to be a senseless tragedy is simply a means to glory being revealed. My life and Jesus’ life mirror each other. Because the cross was a means to His glorification, I can rest in the assurance that darkness will never have the last word in my life either.
In every valley, You are with me and are blessing me with gifts of grace. Open my eyes to find them all. In Jesus’ name, Amen