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’s world was rocked to its core, but the writer of Genesis still said that the Lord was with Joseph and expressed steadfast love. Questions are on the tip of our tongues. ‘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?’ Then comes the question we go to next. ‘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.’ He faced Calvary because that was His calling. I face the crosses of my own story because that is my calling.
Here are some ways God showed His hand of favor in Joseph’s story. Potiphar must have doubted his wife’s story because the punishment for rape was death, yet Joseph was sentenced to prison instead. He was also assigned to the king’s prison, a less severe prison environment.
I don’t care for the phrase ‘count your blessings’ because those who minimize or ignore suffering often recite it. So let me re-phrase it. When it appears God has abandoned me, there are always pieces of evidence that the Lord is with me. God to help me see them. If I remember that I take up a cross to follow Jesus, I don’t expect to avoid hardship. I know it is a means to glory being revealed. My life and Jesus’ life mirror each other. Because the cross was a means to His glorification, darkness never has the last word in my life, either.
In every valley, You give gifts of grace. Thank you. Amen